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Episode 30: Basal Rates & Long Acting Insulin

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Today we’re talking about basal rates, or for those of you on multiple daily injections, long-acting insulin. We talked a bit about long-acting insulin in episode six, when we talked about insulin in general, but for those on MDI, long-acting is a far different experience than someone on a pump using fast-acting insulin and a basal rate.

“Basal rate” refers to the continuous stream of insulin delivered by the insulin pump. It mimics long-acting insulin by giving micro-doses every minute or so. Basal rates are programmed into the pump in terms of units per hour.

If you’re a non-diabetic, your pancreas controls your basal rate!

Wins & Fails

Colleen’s Win: My numbers have been 93% in range according to my Dexcom Clarity app—which shows me quick stats and reports right on my phone. There were a few moments at work the past couple days where I realized I hadn’t felt an alarm going off for several hours and when I checked my pump I was perfectly in-range with a flat arrow. Yay for dialed-in basal rates!

Colleen’s Fail: It’s good to remember that our technology is not perfect. My last sensor started cutting out two days before its limit, and it barely held on to day ten. And that sensor was the replacement Tandem sent for the one that failed on my ski trip in January! It can be easy to expect perfection from all our technology, but the reality is that things do go wrong, and all we can do is manage how we react to those things.

Hack of the Week

The hack this week is go to bed earlier. Sleep is essential for recovery and also for managing blood sugars. When we stay up late and don’t pay attention to what our bodies need for rest and recovery, we always feel the effects of it with our health.

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Diabetes Spotlight

The spotlight this week is on the recent news about Medtronic’s pump recall—specifically the 600 series of pumps—for potential pump failure or overdosing of insulin.

In February 2020, Medtronic issued a Class I recall notice (considered the most serious class of recall) for certain 600 series pumps, and the recall affects over 322,000 pumps. 

Patients with questions about the recall are encouraged to call the 24-hour Medtronic Technical Support line at 877-585-0166.

According to an FDA announcement, there have been 26,421 complaints regarding device malfunction, 2,175 injuries and one death. 

As listed on the FDA’s website, Medtronic has recalled the following pump models:

  • Model 630G distributed in September 2016 to October 2019
  • Model 670G distributed in June 2017 to August 2019

If you wear a 630G or 670G issued during those time periods, please check your pumps! Medtronic has recalled pumps before but this one is a big deal because of how many are affected.

Question for You!

Are you on a pump or multiple daily injections? Which do you prefer when it comes to your basal or background insulin? What challenges have you faced using either?

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Credits

Our music is by Joseph McDade. Check out his website here! Our audio wizard is my husband, Tim. He runs his own food blog, Split Appetites.

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