Disposal Of Used Insulin Syringes
Used syringes, pen needles, cannulas and lancets must be disposed of in an Australian Standards-approved sharps container, which is puncture-proof and has a secure lid. These containers are usually yellow and are available through pharmacies, local municipal councils and state or territory diabetes organisations such as Diabetes Victoria.
Procedures to dispose of sharps containers vary from state to state.
For sharps disposal information and help, you can contact:
- state or territory diabetes organisations, such as Diabetes Victoria
- state Department of Health
Insulin needs to be stored correctly. This includes:
- Store unopened insulin on its side in a fridge.
- Keep the fridge temperature between 2 and 8 °C.
- Make sure that insulin does not freeze.
- Once opened, keep it at room temperature for not more than one month and then dispose of it safely.
- Avoid keeping insulin in direct sunlight.
Extreme temperatures can damage insulin so it doesn’t work properly. It must not be left where temperatures are over 30 °C. In summer your car can get this hot so don’t leave your insulin there.
There are various insulated insulin carry bags available for transporting insulin.
What Are The Symptoms Of Hypoglycemia
Symptoms of hypoglycemia can start quickly, with people experiencing them in different ways. The signs of hypoglycemia are unpleasant. But they provide good warnings that you should take action before blood sugar drops more. The signs include:
- Shaking or trembling.
- Tingling or numbness in the face or mouth.
During a severe hypoglycemic event, a person may:
- Be unable to eat or drink.
- Have a seizure or convulsions .
- Lose consciousness.
- Slip into a coma or die .
Effects Of Excess Insulin
As a diabetic patient who is dependent on insulin, you must measure your requirements for the same very carefully and consider your food intake and level of activity. If you take insulin but eat insufficient amounts of food, your body will use high levels of glucose from your blood resulting in hypoglycemia.
On the other hand, if you are a non-diabetic who takes insulin then the extra amounts of insulin in your body will eliminate the glucose already present in the blood causing your blood sugar level to fall considerably. In some cases the level falls so much that it can even prove fatal for the person. Hence, it is necessary to avoid taking medicines when not advised and also to follow proper dosage, as advised.
What Happens If You Inject Too Much Insulin
Health Medications & Vitamins Side Effects WebMD explains that it is appropriate to treat most insulin overdoses at home. The patient must first check her blood sugar. It is recommended that the patient drink four ounces of regular soda or juice and eat a piece of hard candy or a glucose tablet. If the patient has not eaten a meal, this should be done immediately. Consuming 15 to 20 grams of carbohydrates usually raises the blood sugar level. The patient is advised to rest and recheck the blood sugar level after 15 to 20 minutes. If it is still low, recommendations include consuming another 15 to 20 grams of fast-acting sugar. According to WebMD, it is important for the patient to watch out for any symptoms of low blood sugar for several hours after the insulin injection. If further symptoms arise, the patient should check her blood sugar level and continue to snack if it remains low. Persistent or severe hypoglycemia symptoms or a blood sugar level that remains low for two hours or more requires prompt medical attention. Learn more about Side EffectsContinue reading > >
Insulin Doses Need To Be Raised Or Lowered:
- Throughout life as you grow
- For different activities
- For foods that may affect your blood sugar differently
- When you are sick
The information on the following pages may be hard to learn. Learning to change insulin doses can take time. It is important to learn this because changing insulin doses at home when needed and between diabetes appointments will help to control your blood sugar.
It is better to prevent high blood sugars than to chase them with extra insulin at the time of the high. It is better to prevent low blood sugars than to chase them with extra quick-acting carbohydrate.
Your certified diabetes educator will teach you how to change your insulin doses to prevent high or low blood sugar. We will help you by phone or email for several months after you find out you have diabetes. After you learn to change insulin doses without our help, we are still here to help you when you need.
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When Do I Take Rapid
You should inject rapid-acting insulin no more than 15 minutes before you eat. Your doctor will tell you how much insulin to inject. Remember, you should not wait more than 15 minutes to eat after you take this insulin shot.
Rapid-acting insulin can be more convenient to take than regular insulin. With regular insulin, you inject the insulin and then wait 30 to 60 minutes before eating. Many people find it hard to time their meals around regular insulin injections. Sometimes they end up eating too soon or too late. Then they dont achieve the best blood sugar control. Since rapid-acting insulin is taken so close to mealtime, it may help you control your blood sugar more effectively.
How Is Hypoglycemia Diagnosed
The only way to know if you have hypoglycemia is to check your blood sugar with a blood glucose meter. Its a small machine that measures blood sugar. Most of these devices use a tiny prick of the finger to take a small amount of blood.
People with hypoglycemia unawareness may need a continuous glucose monitor. These wearable devices measure glucose every few minutes, day and night. An alarm sounds if blood sugar drops too low.
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How To Avoid An Insulin Overdose
There are many steps you can take to avoid an accidental insulin overdose. Most of them revolve around avoiding mistakes when you take your insulin and remembering when you took your insulin and how much you took
- Keep an insulin log. If you log every insulin injection, you are much less likely to mistakenly inject the wrong amount of insulin or inject twice. There are many phone apps that will help you calculate your insulin needs and log your injections. Most insulin pumps and smartpens can also do this automatically.
- Always double-check that you are using the right type of insulin. Accidentally using fast-acting insulin when you were supposed to use long-acting insulin can lead to an insulin overdose.
- Dont forget to eat. If you take fast-acting insulin for a meal, you also need to actually eat the meal. Dont take your insulin until you know the meal is on its way and that you have time to eat it.
Factors That Speed Insulin Absorption
Variation in insulin absorption can cause changes in blood glucose levels. Insulin absorption is increased by:
- injecting into an exercised area such as the thighs or arms
- high temperatures due to a hot shower, bath, hot water bottle, spa or sauna
- massaging the area around the injection site
- injecting into muscle this causes the insulin to be absorbed more quickly and could cause blood glucose levels to drop too low.
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Use Insulin If You Need It
Depending on the type and severity of your diabetes, you may take insulin to help manage it. After eating excess sugar and experiencing hyperglycemia, you may require insulin to help your blood sugar stabilize. However, this is unique to every individual. The type of insulin, dosage, and time of dosage is different for everyone. You must consult with your doctor or endocrinologist about your specific insulin needs, and follow the recommendation they provide you. If dosed and used correctly, insulin helps to stabilize the blood sugar after eating too much sugar.
Know That When You Check Your Blood Sugar The Number Tells Us How Well Your Last Dose Of Insulin Worked
For example, meal rapid-acting insulin peaks in 1 to 2 hours and lasts 3 to 4 hours. Your blood sugar taken 2 hours after the meal tells us how well the peak of the insulin covered the peak of the blood sugar after you ate. Your blood sugar taken before the next meal tells us how well the insulin worked during the time your carbohydrate was breaking down.
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Is Hyperglycaemia Serious
The aim of diabetes treatment is to keep blood sugar levels as near to normal as possible. But if you have diabetes, no matter how careful you are, you’re likely to experience hyperglycaemia at some point.
It’s important to be able to recognise and treat hyperglycaemia, as it can lead to serious health problems if left untreated.
Occasional mild episodes aren’t usually a cause for concern and can be treated quite easily or may return to normal on their own. However, hyperglycaemia can be potentially dangerous if blood sugar levels become very high or stay high for long periods.
Very high blood sugar levels can cause life-threatening complications, such as:
- diabetic ketoacidosis a condition caused by the body needing to break down fat as a source of energy, which can lead to a diabetic coma this tends to affect people with type 1 diabetes
- hyperosmolar hyperglycaemic state severe dehydration caused by the body trying to get rid of excess sugar this tends to affect people with type 2 diabetes
Regularly having high blood sugar levels for long periods of time can result in permanent damage to parts of the body such as the eyes, nerves, kidneys and blood vessels.
If you experience hyperglycaemia regularly, speak to your doctor or diabetes care team. You may need to change your treatment or lifestyle to keep your blood sugar levels within a healthy range.
Treating Low Blood Sugar
You are at risk of having a low blood sugar reaction if you:
- Skip or delay a meal or snack
- Take too much insulin or eat too few carbohydrates
- Drink alcohol, especially without eating carbohydrates
Check your blood sugar if you have any of these symptoms:
- Weakness and/or fatigue
If your blood sugar is less than 70 milligrams per deciliter :
- Eat 15 to 30 grams of carbohydrate
- Wait 15 minutes and then recheck your blood sugar
- If your blood sugar is still less than 100 mg/dl, take another 15 grams of carbohydrate and retest your blood sugar in another 15 minutes. Repeat if necessary.
Important: If you have frequent low blood sugars speak to your doctor. You may need changes in your medication and/or meal plan.
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If You Take Too Little Insulin
Taking too little insulin can cause your blood glucose level to rise too high. This is called hyperglycaemia.
If you have forgotten or missed a dose of insulin, or not taken enough insulin:
- Do not take the missed dose or extra insulin unless your diabetes nurse or educator or doctor advises you to do so.
- Drink plenty of sugar-free, non-alcoholic fluids such as water to stay well hydrated. Avoid alcohol and drinks containing caffeine, such as cola, tea and coffee because these can dehydrate you.
- Continue to monitor your blood glucose level regularly.
- If you find your blood glucose level remains high, you will need to address this see hyperglycaemia.
Treating An Overdose Of Long
If you have given too high a dose of long-acting insulin, this could affect you for up to 24 hours.
How you prevent a hypo will depend on how big the overdose was. If the overdose was large, such as a double dose, take carbohydrate to raise your sugar levels and call your health team or out-of-hours service for advice.
If the overdose was smaller, such as up to 5 units too much, take more carbohydrate than usual and aim to keep your sugar levels higher than normal over the next 24 hours to prevent a hypo occurring.
Test regularly through the day and at any time you think you may feel hypo
Take plenty of carbohydrate before sleeping. It is better to wake up with higher sugar levels than risking a hypo overnight. Dont risk going low. If you cannot be certain that hypos will be avoided, call your health team or out-of-hours service.
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How Is Hypoglycemia Treated
The treatment of hypoglycemia depends upon its cause. If you’re otherwise healthy and you notice occasional hypoglycemia-like symptoms, try eating a diet that’s lower in simple sugars and/or try cutting down on your caffeine intake. If this doesn’t make the symptoms go away, be sure to talk with your doctor.
What Is Insulin And Why Do I Need It
Insulin is a hormone that controls the level of blood sugar in your body. People with diabetes may not have enough insulin or may not be able to use it properly. The sugar builds up in the blood and overflows into the urine, passing out of your body unused. Over time, high blood sugar levels can cause serious health problems.
All people with type 1 diabetes, and some people with type 2 diabetes, need to take insulin to help control their blood sugar levels. The goal in treating diabetes is to keep the blood sugar level within a normal range.
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Relationship Of Participant Characteristics And Skills To Glycemic Control
Four patient characteristics were significantly related to A1C . These included education level , race , insurance , and diabetes type . In addition, participants who reported that they sometimes or never administered insulin at correct times and those who reported having little confidence in their ability to determine correct doses had significantly higher A1C levels. There was a trend for those with the poorest diabetes numeracy to have higher A1C levels . BIAS scores were not associated with A1C level.
Two participant characteristics were significantly related to mean blood glucose level. These included education level and race . Participants who reported that they had little confidence in their ability to determine correct insulin doses , who reported less often administering insulin at correct times , and who reported sometimes or never rotating injection sites had higher mean blood glucose levels. BIAS scores were not associated with mean blood glucose levels.
Nighttime Low Blood Sugar
While low blood sugar can happen at any time during the day, some people may experience low blood sugar while they sleep. Reasons this may happen include:
- Having an active day.
- Being physically active close to bedtime.
- Taking too much insulin.
- Drinking alcohol at night.
Eating regular meals and not skipping them can help you avoid nighttime low blood sugar. Eating when you drink alcohol can also help. If you think youre at risk for low blood sugar overnight, have a snack before bed.
You may wake up when you have low blood sugar, but you shouldnt rely on that. A continuous glucose monitor can alert you with an alarm if your blood sugar gets low while youre sleeping.
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Treating An Insulin Overdose
How you treat an insulin overdose depends on how much excess insulin was dosed. If it was just a few units and youre mentally clear and capable of feeding yourself, the low blood sugar should be easily corrected with a small snack.
The greater the overdose of insulin is, the more likely youll need more serious medical intervention.
Lets take a closer look.
Who Needs To Take Insulin
Diabetes impairs insulin production by the pancreas and use of this essential hormone by the body. The condition causes high blood sugar levels.
However, not every person with type 2 diabetes will need to take insulin. People with type 1, on the other hand, will have to supplement their insulin supply for the rest of their lives.
There are three main types of diabetes:
- Type 1 diabetes: Typically starts in childhood when a person does not produce enough insulin. Usually results from the bodys immune system attacking an otherwise healthy pancreas.
- Type 2 diabetes: Can develop at any age but 45 years is the average age of onset. Either the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or the bodys cells become resistant to its actions.
- Gestational diabetes: Occurs during pregnancy and makes it harder for a womans body to respond to insulin. Typically stops after childbirth but increases a womans risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Type 1 and type 2 diabetes are usually lifelong conditions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , more than 30 million people in the United States have diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is the most common, accounting for
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Can I Mix Rapid
You can mix a rapid-acting insulin with an intermediate-acting insulin, according to your doctors instructions. Rapid-acting insulin should always be drawn into the syringe first. This will keep the intermediate-acting insulin from getting into the rapid-acting insulin bottle. After mixing rapid-acting insulin in the same syringe with an intermediate-acting insulin, you must inject the mixture under your skin within 15 minutes. Remember to eat within 15 minutes after the injection.
If You Run Out Of Insulin
It is a good idea to always keep at least one spare vial of insulin for emergencies, and to take your insulin with you when you go out.
If you run out of insulin:
- Contact your doctor or diabetes nurse or educator for advice.
- Ask your pharmacist if they are able to give you an emergency supply .
- You can also search for local services and agencies that can offer confidential advice in the National Health Services Directory.
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