Exercise And Absorption Rate
If you plan to exercise after injecting insulin, aim to avoid the area you are about to exert the most energy from. For example, if you plan on doing a lower body workout, avoid using your thighs. Or if you are playing a game of tennis, avoid the arms, as this will increase the absorption rate and increase your risk of hypoglycemia.
How To Give Insulin In The Arm With An Insulin Pen Or Syringe
Injecting insulin into the upper arm can be a bit tricky to do yourself but by using your knee you can create a pinched-up area of skin to inject into. If you find this difficult, for example, if you dont have much loose skin on your arms, it may be best to choose a different injection site, such as your stomach or thigh, or ask somebody else to hold up an area of pinched skin and give your injection for you. The same method can be used whether you are using a syringe or an insulin pen.
Rotate Your Injection Sites To Avoid Lumpy Skin
If you tend to inject in the same places you may find that your flesh becomes less flexible than usual. This is called lumpy skin and means the insulin wont be absorbed as well.
Avoid having a favourite part of that area to inject into as this greatly increases the risk of lumpy skin. If this is the case, try injecting into surrounding areas, picking a new spot each time.
Each of the main four areas should give a give a good area of flesh to inject into. Using different areas of the body to inject into is insulin injection site rotation
However, you may find you have a favourite part of that area to inject into. If this is the case, try injecting into surrounding areas, picking a new spot each time.
One way to pick a non-lumpy area is to feel or squeeze the skin before injecting insulin If it doesnt feel as supple as it could be, pick a different spot to inject into.
Questions For My Doctor
Which type of treatment is best for you should always be a joint decision between you and your diabetes care team. Whichever they recommend, be sure to ask about the pros and cons of each medication, including:
- What are side effects I should expect with each option?
- How much do they cost?
- How do I use them?
- Where should I store them?
Also, be sure you understand how to tell if your blood sugar is too low, and what to do if it is.
How To Give An Insulin Injection
Give The Insulin Dose
Figure 10. Holding the insulin pen
How To Store Your Insulin Pens
Too much heat, cold, or sunlight can damage the insulin in your pens. Follow the instructions below to store your insulin pens.
- Keep your new, unused insulin pens in the refrigerator door. This keeps them from being pushed to the back of the refrigerator, where they can freeze.
- Keep the insulin pen youre currently using at room temperature . Once you use an insulin pen the first time, never put it back in the refrigerator.
- Never freeze your insulin pens.
- When youre going out in hot weather, dont let your insulin pen get too hot. Carry it in an insulated bag, or something similar, to keep it cool.
- If youre going to be out for a few hours, put a cold bottle of water in the insulated bag with your insulin pen. This will keep it from getting too hot for several hours.
- If youre going to be out for a longer time, you can put an ice pack in the insulated bag with your insulin pen. Wrap the ice pack or insulin pen in a towel to keep them from touching. If the pen touches the ice pack directly, the insulin can freeze.
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How To Avoid Pain When Injecting Insulin
Most injections are not painful. The chance of pain is greatly minimised by using a new needle.
Some tips to help avoid or minimise pain when injecting, include:
- Always use a new needle.
- Use a needle that is the right length. Your health team can advise you on whether youre using the right needle length.
- Use insulin and a needle which is at room temperature.
- Push the needle in quickly when injecting.
- Try not to wiggle the needle as youre injecting or withdrawing the needle.
Lower Back Hips Or Buttocks
The final site for administering an insulin injection is the lower back or hip.
To administer an injection here, draw an imaginary line across the top of the buttocks between the hips.
Place the needle above this line but below the waist, about halfway between the spine and the side.
As with the upper arm, this site is very difficult to use for self-injection and may require another person for administration. When injecting into the buttocks, avoid the lower part.
The body absorbs insulin at different speeds from each of the sites. This information can be useful when planning insulin injections:
- Abdomen: Insulin enters the bloodstream most quickly after an abdominal injection.
- Upper arms: The body absorbs insulin with moderate speed but slower than an injection in the abdomen.
- Lower back and thighs: Insulin enters the bloodstream most slowly from these sites.
- Administer rapid-acting insulin into the abdomen right after a meal for the fastest results.
Inject long-acting and intermediate-acting insulin into the other sites, as rapid absorption would reduce the effectiveness of these types. Insulin works more efficiently over the entire time it needs to because of the slower absorption rate.
Exercise can increase the absorption rate of insulin. If planning a workout or physical activity, account for these when planning injections.
Wait to for at least 45 minutes after the injection to exercise a part of the body that is near the injection site.
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The Role Of Insurance
The ADAs Insulin Access and Affordability Working Group report found that nearly half of Americans have employer-sponsored health insurance. About 20% are insured through Medicaid, and 14% are insured through Medicare. Approximately 7% of Americans purchase health insurance on their owneither directly from an insurer or through a health insurance exchange. About 9% of Americans remain uninsured.
Diabetes is considered a pre-existing condition. According to research published in Diabetes Care, an estimated 1.9 million uninsured people with diabetes gained insurance coverage after the Affordable Care Act went into effect. More than half of those who gained insurance were low-income.
Still, having insurance doesn’t mean insulin is affordable. Insured patients will often pay a copay or a percentage, rather than the list price, for their insulin. Redmond says that cost could range from $30 to $50.
In cases of high-deductible health plans, patients have to pay the list price for their insulin until their deductible is met, which often translates to thousands of dollars out of pocket. Many patients just have a problem paying that much, says Redmond.
What Should I Know About Storage And Disposal Of This Medication
Store unopened vials of human insulin, unopened disposable dosing devices and unopened human insulin pens in the refrigerator. Do not freeze human insulin and do not use human insulin that has been frozen. Opened vials of human insulin should be stored in the refrigerator but may also be stored at room temperature, in a cool place that is away from heat and direct sunlight. Store opened human insulin pens and opened dosing devices at room temperature. Check the manufacturer’s information to find out how long you may keep your pen or dosing device after the first use.
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA’s Safe Disposal of Medicines website for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location â one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach.
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Todays Needles Are Shorter And Narrower
Needle technology has come a long way in recent years. Todays needles are smaller and finer than ever before, making injections as painless as possible. Research no longer supports the use of needles longer than 8 mm for most people. Many are able to use needles as short as 4mm. These shorter needles have not impacted the efficacy of insulin and cause less tissue trauma and more accurate delivery to the subcutaneous tissue . The subcutaneous tissue is recommended for injection since it provides the most reliable and stable absorption. In addition, needle tips have improved in design which require less penetration force. The combination of shorter needles, thinner needles and improved needle tips have all contributed to better injection comfort.
Do I Need To Monitor My Blood Sugar Level
Yes. Monitoring and controlling your blood sugar is key to preventing the complications of diabetes. If you dont already monitor your blood sugar level, you will need to learn how. Checking your blood sugar involves pricking your finger to get a small drop of blood that you put on a test strip. You can read the results yourself or insert the strip into a machine called an electronic glucose meter. The results will tell you whether your blood sugar is in a healthy range. Your doctor will give you additional information about monitoring your blood sugar.
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Throwing Away Your Needles And Lancets
Sharps bins and needle clippers are the safest way of disposing of your insulin needles and your lancets. A needle clipper removes the needle from your insulin pen, and is useful when youre out and about. How you get rid of your sharps bin depends on where you live. Your healthcare team should have information to help you get rid of your bin.
How To Choose The Right Method For Injecting Insulin
Both syringes and insulin pens use a small needle to inject insulin into your body. There are pros and cons to each, and which one you ultimately end up with will depend on your lifestyle and your doctors advice.
Things to know about insulin syringes:
- They come in a few different sizes.
- Your doctor will tell you how much insulin you need per dose.
- You will usually draw the insulin into the syringe when you need it.
- Theyre not as discreet as an insulin pen.
Things to know about insulin pens:
- Some pens use cartridges that are manually inserted into the pen.
- Other pens are prefilled and thrown away after all the insulin is used.
- Needles in pens are often smaller than those in syringes.
- Not all types of insulin can be used with a pen.
- Pens can be more expensive than syringes and are sometimes not covered by insurance.
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What Happens If You Avoid Taking Your Insulin
If you have type 1 diabetes, taking insulin is essential and you cannot live without it. If you avoid taking it, your blood sugar levels can become too high and you risk developing diabetic ketoacidosis . If left untreated, DKA could be life-threatening. Thats why its important to make sure you take your insulin.
If you have type 2 diabetes and use insulin to treat your condition, you should continue to take it as prescribed. If you avoid taking it, your blood sugar levels could become too high and you may become ill. Please speak to your healthcare professional if you have any questions or concerns about taking your insulin.
Insulin is a treatment that helps manage blood sugars, so this also reduces the risk of serious long-term complications as well a shorter-term consequences. Its still important to keep going to your appointments and manage your condition with healthy lifestyle choices. Staying active and eating a healthy diet will reduce the risk of complications from your diabetes, but insulin is also an important part of your treatment.
How To Measure A Mixed Dose Of Insulin
Your doctor may prescribe two types of insulin to be injected at once for diabetes. This mixed dose may provide better blood sugar control for some people.
Please follow these steps when injecting a mixed dose of insulin:
Important:This must be an exact measurement. If you withdraw too much cloudy insulin, the total dosage in the syringe must be discarded. Be careful not to push any of the clear insulin from the syringe into the cloudy insulin. If there are large air bubbles after mixing the insulin in the syringe, discard this dosage and start the procedure again. Do not push the insulin back into the bottle.
- Carefully replace the cap on the needle.
- You are now ready to inject the insulin. Follow the steps listed below.
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About Insulin Pen Needles
Use a new insulin pen needle each time you give yourself an injection. Insulin pen needles have 4 main parts .
- A protective tab. This helps keep the needle clean. Youll need to remove this before attaching the needle to the insulin pen.
- An outer needle cap. This covers the needle before and after its used.
- An inner needle cap. This helps keep the needle clean before its used.
- A needle. This is how the injection is given into the skin.
Figure 2. Parts of an insulin pen needle