This handout explains why you need an insulin infusion, also known as an insulin drip. Answers to some common questions are listed below. If you have more questions or concerns, please ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.
What is insulin?
Insulin is a hormone that is made by the pancreas. It allows your body to use the sugar in food as a source of energy. It keeps blood sugar levels normal.
Why do I need insulin now?
There are many reasons why you might need an insulin drip. Stress alone can increase your blood sugars. If you just had surgery, your body is under stress. Some people notice their blood sugars go up when they are worried or anxious. If you need medicines such as steroids, your blood sugars might increase as well. Changes in your diet or activity levels can increase your blood sugars too.
What is an insulin drip?
An insulin drip is given through an intravenous line (IV) rather than by injection. Insulin given through an IV gets into your body more quickly to bring down high blood sugars.
Why does blood sugar control matter?
Keeping blood glucose levels as normal as possible will promote healing. Also, there is less chance for problems like infection and organ rejection (if you have had a transplant). You might feel better and have more energy when blood sugar levels are normal.
What are normal blood sugar levels?
Normal blood sugar levels are 70 – 100 mg/dL when fasting and before meals. The normal levels after meals are 70 – 140 mg/dL.
How often will my blood sugars be checked?
Your blood sugars need to be checked every hour at first. If the blood sugar levels are stable, you will be checked every 2-4 hours. Blood sugar levels can change quickly. This is why we check so often.
When will the insulin drip be stopped?
The IV will be stopped when you are more stable and once your blood sugars are in good control.
Will I need insulin at home?
You may or may not need insulin at home. We will decide this with you as you get closer to going home.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 09/25/2013
Copyright © 09/25/2013 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#6007
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