Bolus Insulin Basics


Extra insulin when your body needs it.


The amount of insulin your body needs changes constantly, depending on factors such as your activity level, stress, when you eat and the type and amount of food you eat. You may need to deliver an extra dose of insulin, called a bolus insulin dose, to match the carbohydrates in a meal or snack, or to lower your blood glucose when it gets too high. There are two basic types of bolus insulin doses: meal and correction.


Meal Bolus: Normal or Extended

Generally, a normal meal bolus will cover your insulin needs for a meal or snack. Sometimes your food intake is better covered by an extended bolus, which delivers insulin over a longer period of time than a normal bolus. This feature is useful when you are eating high-fat or high-protein foods, which may take longer to digest and are possibly slower to affect blood glucose, or when you are eating over an extended period, for example, at a party or during a holiday meal.


Correction Bolus

You may also need a bolus dose of insulin to reduce a high blood glucose level; this correction amount is added to a meal bolus if you are eating, or delivered separately if you are not.


Suggested Bolus Calculator

The PDM’s Suggested Bolus Calculator can be programmed to automatically calculate and suggest your bolus dose. The Bolus Calculator uses your personal settings, your blood glucose level, the amount of carbohydrates you are eating, and your insulin on board to determine a suggested bolus dose. You and your healthcare provider will decide on the settings for calculating your bolus insulin amounts.