We all need insulin. It’s a hormone produced by the body that regulates our blood sugar levels. However, if you’re one of the 25 million+ people with type 2 diabetes (T2D), then you have insulin resistance which means your pancreas produces some insulin, but your body doesn’t respond to it appropriately. This article will tell you a few tips for taking insulin in diabetes.
As per research taking insulin injections is one of the best ways to manage sugar levels for type 2 diabetes. Moreover, self-injected insulin can be lifesaving in these cases, but for someone who is new to insulin, the idea of it can be overwhelming. Here’s everything you need to know before giving it a shot.
Types of Insulin
There are many different types of insulin used to treat diabetes and are defined by how they affect our body, how quickly they work when they peak, and how long they last.
- Rapid-acting insulin: This insulin starts to work within a few minutes, and its effect can last for a couple of hours.
- Regular- or short-acting insulin: This takes about 30 minutes to work fully and lasts for 3 to 6 hours.
- Intermediate-acting insulin: This takes between 2 to 4 hours to work fully. Its effects can last for up to 18 hours or more.
- Long-acting insulin: This type can work for an entire day.
Depending on your status, you may be prescribed more than one type of insulin. Also, you might need to take insulin more than once daily.
Tips for Taking Insulin in Diabetes
To inject insulin into your body, you need to fill the proper syringe with the correct amount of medicine, decide where to inject it and know how to give the injection.
When you start taking insulin, your healthcare provider will help you understand how to inject it. Make sure to rotate where you inject the insulin so that the scar tissue doesn’t build up. Also, keep in mind not to inject near your joints, groin area, navel, the middle of your stomach, or on existing scars.
Step 1: Pinch the skin and put the needle in at a 45º angle.
Step 2: If your skin tissues are thicker, you may be able to inject straight up and down (90º angle). Check with your provider before doing this.
Step 3: Inject the needle all the way into the skin. Let go of the pinched skin. Push the insulin slowly and steadily until it is all in.
Step 4: Leave the syringe in place for 5 seconds after injecting.
Step 5: Pull the needle out at the same angle it went in.
Side Effects of Insulin
- Low blood sugar levels
- Weight gain when you initially start using it
- Lumps or scars where you’ve had too many insulin shots
- Rash where you injected. This can rarely spread all over the body.
- If you have a case of Asthma, then with inhaled insulin, there’s a chance that your lungs could tighten suddenly.
Storing Insulin Injections
A good rule of thumb for storage is that the insulin is safe if the temperature is comfortable for you. You can store the bottle you’re using at room temperature for up to 30 days. Another tip is to avoid letting it get too hot or cold and keep away from direct sunlight. Moreover, always make sure you have extra as backup.
The night before, you’re going to use a new bottle, take it out, and let it warm up. Don’t let the insulin freeze. Always take a look inside the insulin bottle before using it. Rapid-acting and short-acting should be clear. Other forms may look cloudy, but the concentration shouldn’t have any clumps.
If you are traveling or carry your insulin with you, make sure not to shake it as it leads to air bubbles. This can alter the dose of insulin you withdraw for your shot.
Storing Inhaled Insulin
When it comes to inhaled insulin, check on the directions on the package. You should keep the package sealed and refrigerated until you’re ready to start using it. Also, make sure to use it within ten days. You can refrigerate packages once you’ve opened, but make sure to let the cartridge warm up to room temperature 10 minutes before you start using it.
If you use insulin regularly, it is advisable to invest in a blood sugar monitoring device, better known as the glucometer. It will help you keep track of your blood sugar levels from the comfort of wherever you are.