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 team.
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 could be many reasons. 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 raise 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
Why does blood sugar control matter?
Keeping blood glucose levels as normal as
possible will help with 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 – 99 mg/dL
when fasting. The normal levels after meals
are blood sugars less than 140 mg/dL.
How often will my blood sugars be
Your blood sugars need to be checked every
hour at first. If the blood sugar levels are
stable, you will be checked every 1-2 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
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.
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you have any
questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This is not medical
advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each person’s health needs are
different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using this information. If you have an
emergency, please call 911. Copyright ©8/2016. University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights
reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#6007.