We started using an insulin pump almost eight years ago. We have the Animas Ping and at this point, I know my way around it pretty well. But sometimes, I get a reminder I’m not quite the diabetes expert I think I am.
Our last endo visit went really well, with a great A1C. As soon as we walked out of the office, though, B’s blood sugar shot up and stayed high. At least it felt that way.
I sent Dr. V. three weeks of Dexcom reports and he recommended we adjust ISF overnight. We hadn’t looked at the Insulin Sensitivity Factor in a while, so that made sense. Dr. V said “Go ahead and make it stronger” so I did.
Or so I thought.
The ISF is also called the correction factor. It’s the amount of blood glucose that’s lowered by 1 unit of regular insulin. You need it to figure out the amount of insulin to give when your blood sugar is high and you need to get it back down into your target range. An example, and how it looks in the pump, is 1U : 50. That means it takes one unit of insulin to bring your blood sugar down 50 points.
To make it “stronger,” as my doctor suggested, you need to lower the second number. But my brain doesn’t think that way. Stronger means bigger, right? So I went ahead and changed it to 1U : 60. Nice try, but that meant Benny got less insulin. So the corrections we gave over the next 24 hours were weaker. Way to go, mom!
I realized my mistake the next day when chatting in a diabetes Facebook group. I was complaining about how changing the ISF had seemed to make things worse. Another mom very kindly pointed out my error. (Note: I do not advocate taking medical advice from random people on social media!)
So, we dialed it down (up?) to 1U : 40. Much better.
I feel foolish admitting to this, but I know I’m not the only one who’s messed it up. When I Googled Insulin Senstiivity Factor, none of the top search results were very useful (at least to me). I did think this was a pretty good explanation.
We wound up adjusting a few more settings this go-round and Benny seems back to whatever normal is supposed to be. And I’ll work on my math skills so I can get the next correction factor correction correct.