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Meet Your Individual Needs Using Basal Patterns

By Naomi Kingery

Social Community Manager

Posted:  9/13/2012 2:53 PM


I typically use most of the options my insulin pump offers, from linking my blood glucose meter to communicate with my pump, to using temporary basal rates when I need to.  One feature that I never understood (and was somewhat intimidated by) was basal patterns. I didn’t fully get why I would need additional settings, in what life circumstances I would use them, and if I even trusted myself to remember to turn the basal patterns on and off once I figured all that out.

The premise of basal patterns is simple. It’s an optional feature that allows you to set up multiple basal rate patterns to meet your needs. And since this is an optional feature, it is up to you when you use them based on your schedule and blood glucose trends.

A few months ago I started to see my new endocrinologist and the first thing she noticed on my CareLink reports was that I went low almost every Saturday morning. She asked why, and I said it was because Saturday is the only day of the week that I get to sleep in (which I love to do).  She followed that up with asking why I went high for two straight weeks right before summer started, and I explained that this had been final exam time in college and I was under a huge amount of stress.

My endocrinologist taught me that these are ideal scenarios for basal patterns, because my body was showing its own pattern for what it needed. So we set up three sets of rates:  Pattern A, B, and Standard. I turn on pattern A to help combat my weekend lows, and Pattern B is used when I’m high due to stress or sickness. Standard is my normal rate delivered when I do not have a pattern turned on. I’m happy to say that the late morning lows are almost obsolete now, and I’m looking forward to utilizing my basal patterns as I start college classes again this fall.

In the beginning, I had to get used to turning the patterns on and off at the right time, so I used an alarm on my phone to remind me.  Now it has become habit and I’m glad that it has worked so wonderfully for my lifestyle. If you notice specific trends like I did with different life events (like going back to school or playing on a weekend soccer team) this may be worth a discussion with your healthcare team.

- 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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Ed Cederberg

Posted on Thu Sep 13 17:58:56 GMT 2012

thanks for the onfo about patterns, I plan to talk to my Endo. Iam shure it will help with my lows after a work out (late morning). thanks again Ed

Debbie Keech

Posted on Thu Sep 13 21:21:09 GMT 2012

I've been using the Medtronic insulin pump for 30 years and have been using this feature since it became available thanks to a wonderful Endocrinologist who knows pump therapy and diabetes inside and out! I use the feature when I'm ill, whenever I have to take medications that raise my blood sugar or when I have periods of time that I can't exercise. Great feature!

Laura Vaught

Posted on Thu Sep 13 22:04:05 GMT 2012

Glad to hear your using basal patterns. You talked about flipping into a different pattern with increased stress. Women should also consider an alternate pattern to combat the increased BG's caused by the hormonal surge during ovulation.

Steven Harbeck

Posted on Mon Jul 14 16:59:19 GMT 2014

I have been using this feature for a while now and use temporary basals all the time. I wish that medtronic would set up patterns for each day of the week that would cycle through and that way we would not need to choose a basal rate each day. My schedual varies from day to day and I would prefer a pump that could change my basals daily using some kind of calander format. I hope they look at these comments because this would be an awesome advance in the technology.


Posted on Mon Jul 14 22:03:46 GMT 2014

Hi Steven. Thanks for your feedback. I’ll be sure to pass it along to our product development team. This may be what you’re referring to but there is an optional Basal Patterns feature on your pump that allows you to set your pump to deliver a standard basal and two additional basal patterns to meet your individual daily, weekly, or monthly needs. Although your healthcare team will be the one to help you the with amount for your settings, if you’d like help with your device, please send me a private message at, and I’d be more than happy to connect you with someone from my team. In the meantime, you can learn more about the Basal Patterns feature here:

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