What Is Active Insulin and Why Is It Important?

By NeNa | Articles

Nov 13

Have you ever heard the terms active insulin, insulin on board (IOB), or duration of insulin? They are commonly used with insulin pumps, and are a very useful feature for injecting the correct insulin dosage, and preventing hypoglycemia.

Active insulin, or IOB, refers to the amount of insulin in your body that’s still working after a recent insulin shot. It allows your insulin pump to show the IOB from the previous doses. In this way, you’ll take

Diabetes Devices Which Have a Calculator to Work out the Insulin Doses

You must understand active insulin if you use any of the following devices:

  • Glucose meters – Freestyle Libre, Insulinx, and more
  • APP’s – Dario, Diabetes:M, MySugar, and more
  • Pumps – Animas, Medtronic, Omnipod, and all others except ROCHE

Why Is Active Insulin Important?

The calculator in the Bolus Wizard feature of your insulin pump might change the estimated insulin amount you need. This happens when you have insulin on board remained from a previous bolus.

In this way, you’ll know whether more insulin or carbohydrate you need. Having high blood sugar levels at the moment doesn’t necessarily mean you need more insulin. So, before you take more, you need to see how much active insulin you have.

But, why knowing how much active insulin is left in your body is important for your diabetes management?

First, it helps you get an accurate dose of insulin, thus maintaining a proper blood glucose levels. Also, if you give yourself an insulin shot too soon after a previous dose, your body will have too much insulin and too low blood glucose levels.

This will lead to stacking of insulin which in turn leads to hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia can be dangerous for people with diabetes as it can cause loss of consciousness or seizures.

You can use the calculator on your device /APP to help workout correction doses between meals. Also, to know your risk of hypoglycemia when making exercise decisions, especially when doing aerobic activity.

Once again, here’s what active insulin shows:

  • the amount of insulin left to work from past doses
  • the amount of insulin needed to reduce a high blood sugar
  • the need for carbs to avoid hypoglycemia as too much insulin is still active in your body

Note – Consult your doctor whenever you think you need setting changes.