Why I Switched from Novolin 70/30 to Novorapid and Lantus
In the 20 plus years of managing my type 1 diabetes, I have used several types of insulin. When I was first diagnosed I was prescribed Humulin N and Humulin R insulin. I used it for a couple of years until my doctor switched me to Novolin 70/30. At that age I did not understand the rationale behind the switch. Quite frankly it didn’t matter once I could stay healthy and keep my diabetes in check.
I used Novolin 70/30 for many years, throughout my teenage years and most of my twenties. One insulin shot in the morning before breakfast and one before dinner. I dabbled in sports as a pre teen and teenager, doing taekwondo, playing hockey and badminton. It wasn’t until my early twenties that I became very cautious of my physique or lack there of. I was inspired to start working out with friends and eventually started following the gym lifestyle. With my busy work schedule and new fitness journey I discovered a couple of issues with 70/30 insulin.
70/30 Premix Insulin is Very Restrictive
I am quite a busy person and having a fixed schedule to eat each day isn’t exactly feasible. With numerous meetings, presentations and training sessions, having flexibility with my meals is very important. I would often feel like a slave to 70/30 insulin. It is rather annoying and inconvenient having to excuse yourself from conducting a presentation or training session because you feel a hypoglycemia episode coming on. I’ve been in meetings that were supposed to last 20 minutes but ended up lasting 2 hours. With the unpredictability of 70/30, it could peak at the most inappropriate times.
Carb Counting and Flexible Dieting on 70/30 Insulin Premixes is Difficult
At the beginning of my fitness journey I tried to follow a meal plan to achieve my goals. I discovered that it is almost impossible to match the fast acting part of the 70/30 premix insulin to the carbohydrates in a meal. There are no ratios or direct correlations between one unit of 70/30 insulin to a specific number of carbs. It takes a lot of adjusting, close monitoring of insulin dosages and blood sugar levels to maintain good readings if your carbohydrates vary each day. I would usually eat more carbs on training days than on my rest days. This meant that I would have to go through the tedious process of trying to figure out the correct dosage for each of those days.
On the other hand, let’s forget about diet for a minute. Face it, sometimes we are just really hungry and we eat a bit more than usual; or a lot more. Or, we just want to indulge in a bowl of our favorite ice cream (Cookies and Cream) while binge watching a show on Netflix. Being spontaneous with food and maintaining a great blood sugar level with 70/30 insulin has proven to be quite difficult.
My New Lantus Solostar and Novorapid Insulin Regimen
Lantus Solostar is a long acting type of insulin(basal). It provides a slow, steady release of insulin that helps manage blood sugar between meals and overnight. Novorapid is a meal time insulin and helps manage blood sugar levels associated with each meal. I only take this insulin once my meal has carbs in it. Therefore no carbs mean no insulin injection. Novorapid works like the insulin in the body of a person without diabetes. When they eat, the pancreas releases insulin to cover the carbohydrate in that meal. The only difference with Novorapid is that I have to calculate the number of carbohydrates and administer the correct dosage. This is also called flexible dosing or flexible insulin therapy.
With Lantus and NovoRapid insulin I am in control of everything. One major advantage is that I can quickly and easily correct high blood sugar levels at meal time. I can also set my blood sugar level to a specific range so that I avoid hypos while exercising. 70/30 insulin takes effect anywhere between 10 to 30 minutes of the injection and its peak times vary. Due to this variation I would sometimes have low blood sugar episodes during intense exercise sessions. Other days I would eat more carbohydrates to avoid chances of hypoglycemia but would end up with a high blood sugar. I strongly believe that a basal and bolus insulin regiment is best for an avid fitness oriented and busy lifestyle with diabetes.
No Carbohydrate Restrictions
With Lantus and Novorapid insulin treatment I do not have to limit the carbohydrates in my diet. Although I still watch my carbohydrate intake, it is no longer stipulated by my insulin. It can vary day to day and I can eat anything I want and at anytime. My diet is not as restricted as it once was and I can be spontaneous when I go out to dinner. This insulin treatment allows you to eat and function similarly to a person without diabetes.
Better Control Over Blood Sugar Levels
I can safely say that this was the main reason for ditching 70/30 insulin. With the direct correlation of 1 unit of insulin to a specific number of carbohydrates, my 2 hour post meal readings are almost always perfect. This coupled with correction doses for high blood sugar levels make glucose control much easier and more efficient.
Flexpens Make Traveling with Insulin Easier
Not having to worry about keeping insulin cool is a relief. Traveling with insulin vials can be tedious sometimes. Absolute care and attention must also be given to avoid breaking the vial. Before my discovery of Frio Wallets I would have to travel with ice packs and a carrying case to keep my insulin cool. Once a NovoRapid pen is opened it does not have to be refrigerated. These pens can be kept at room temperature: below 86°F for up to 28 days. This makes day to day travel and even overseas travel a bit easier.
I definitely prefer the basal and bolus insulin regiment over the 70/30. The freedom of meal timing and more food options is great. I also have great control of my blood glucose levels which is reflected in my HBA1C.