Diabetes is an Art

For this blog, I am joined by Stephanie Taff RD, CDE, to help weigh in on the clinical benefits of the Insulin to Carb Ratio feature.

Diabetes is an Art, But Not Always a Science

Do you ever feel like an artist painting a diabetes management masterpiece?  Just like artists, we need to be equipped with various tools that let us create our daily works of art.

What many of us don’t know is that there are several tools built into our insulin pumps that help make everything come to life.

The Bolus Wizard® feature is the paintbrush we work with. However, did you know that inside this feature there are several differently sized “brushes”?  Lucky for us, with a few simple calculations the Wizard can hand us just the brush we need.  Let’s take a deeper look into how these brushes can help us make more precise calculations.

Defining The Insulin to Carb Ratio

In the most basic definition, insulin-to-carb ratio is how many units of insulin your body needs for a specific amount of carbohydrate.  For example, if your insulin-to-carb ratio is set to “1-to-15” that means you need 1 unit of insulin for every 15 grams of carbohydrate you eat to keep your blood sugars stable.

Back before the Bolus Wizard feature, we weren’t as precise. These calculations involved doing math and estimation, which usually meant rounding up or down. Eating 71 grams of carbs would result in needing 4.7 units of insulin, which was hard to navigate on a syringe.  Many times, people with diabetes would round up to 5 units of insulin, possibly resulting in a low.  Using a pump with the Bolus Wizard calculator lets us administer the precise dose we need.

Utilizing The Bolus Wizard Feature

Now that we know what it does, let’s go over why it’s important to make sure these calculations are set and being used. Back to our painting metaphor, if you sat down at your canvas to paint a tree and were handed two brushes, one thin and one thicker, your tree would lack depth.  Now, imagine that you were able to ask for three different-sized brushes.  You’d be able to paint more realistic leaves and branches.

However, it’s important to remember that some of this accountability lies with us, the artists.  Make sure your insulin-to-carb ratio is set correctly; that will allow your pump to get even more precise with its insulin delivery.  We need to make sure we’re counting carbohydrates correctly and that we use the Bolus Wizard feature.

I admit, sometimes I can be a lazy artist and have been known to say “I know my carb ratio is 1-to-15 and this looks like 60

grams of carbs, so I am just going to give an easy bolus of 4 units. Done.”  What I find is that when I estimate, my “art” is on the sloppy side. When I only use the first two available brushes, I can’t paint a clear picture.  Sometimes, all it takes is a few of those days to show me that with a little creative energy I can skip the guessing game and opt to use the tools provided to me by my insulin pump to be more precise with my diabetes management.


– Medtronic Diabetes insulin infusion pumps, continuous glucose monitoring systems and associated components are limited to sale by or on the order of a physician and should only be used under the direction of a healthcare professional familiar with the risks associated with the use of these systems.
– Successful operation of the insulin infusion pumps and/or continuous glucose monitoring systems requires adequate vision and hearing to recognize alerts and alarms.

Medtronic Diabetes Insulin Infusion Pumps

– Insulin pump therapy is not recommended for individuals who are unable or unwilling to perform a minimum of four blood glucose tests per day.
– Insulin pumps use rapid-acting insulin. If your insulin delivery is interrupted for any reason, you must be prepared to replace the missed insulin immediately.

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  1. Maria Zubak

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