Islets of Hope   What is bolus insulin?

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Want help determining how to calculate your need for insulin? First, be sure to check with your doctor but you can also use Insulin Pumper's insulin calculating tool to better understand how your doctor might  determine your need for insulin.

diabetes medical terms
Medical Encyclopedia


Bolus Insulin

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Bolus (pronounced bowl-us)

Definition:  The word "bolus" has several meanings but in the case of giving insulin to treat diabetes it means to give a single dose of insulin.  Bolus insulin can be given by injection (shots), through an insulin pump, or with another infusion device such as an OmniPod.  In the hospital, bolus insulin may also be given intraveineosly (by IV directly into the blood stream).

Bolus insulin is given for two reasons:

  1. Whenever food is eaten that may raise blood sugar (especially in the case of carbohydrates); and/or
  2. Whenever blood sugars are too high and need to be corrected (made lower).

Rapid acting insulin is generally used to cover food eaten when taking shots, but almost always the only insulin used in an insulin pump.  Rapid insulin, when used in an insulin pump, therefore covers meal and correction boluses as well as is used for administering basal insulin.

All persons with the juvenile form of type 1 diabetes need to take insulin to live.  

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Page Updated 07/24/2007