Basic Tips To Use Insulin

By Dr. Divya Mandial | 28th Feb 2023

Basic Tips To Use Insulin

What is Insulin?

Insulin is a hormone that is secreted by the pancreas that is present below the stomach. The pancreas releases insulin into the bloodstream, circulates, and lets the sugar enter the cells. It is how insulin helps lower the amount of sugar in the bloodstream. As the blood sugar level starts dropping, insulin secretion from the pancreas decreases.

If you have type 1 diabetes, your body is not making any insulin, so you need to start insulin therapy immediately. This therapy tries to mimic natural insulin or non-diabetic insulin secretion. 

In the case of type 2 diabetes, you can manage your diabetes with healthy eating and physical activities. Your doctor may prescribe medications such as insulin, injectable medications, or oral medicines to help control your blood glucose.

Most importantly, you need to eat healthily and remain active if you take insulin or other medicines for diabetes. Before knowing the basic tips on insulin use, one must know the types and modes of insulin commonly used.

What are the types of Insulin?

3 Types of insulin commonly used are:

1. Rapid-acting insulin

It quickly absorbs in your bloodstream and controls the blood sugar during meals and snacks to balance high blood sugar.

2. Intermediate-acting

It is absorbed slowly but lasts longer to control the blood sugar overnight while fasting and between meals.

3. Long-lasting acting

Is absorbed slowly and lasts a day to control the blood sugar overnight while fasting and between meals.

What are the modes of taking Insulin?

 4 standard modes of taking insulin are:

  1. Syringe
  2. Insulin pen
  3. Insulin Pump
  4. Insulin Inhaler

The ultimate aim of insulin therapy is to restore normal insulin levels in your blood. Insulin therapy for type 1 diabetes involves injecting insulin or using an insulin pump. While for type 2 diabetes, injectable medications are recommended if oral medications are ineffective.

Basic tips on the use of insulin if you have diabetes

  • Keep track of your blood glucose levels and establish your goals pre-meal, at bedtime, or when experiencing low blood glucose.
  • Keep track of your carbohydrate intake. You can seek the help of a registered dietician or nutritionist to calculate and manage your carbs intake.
  • Before taking insulin, it is essential to know the dose, formulations, and type of insulin needed. 

You can calculate how much insulin to take at meals and snacks to balance high blood sugar. Typically, one unit of rapid-acting insulin digests 12-15 grams of carbohydrates. This range can vary from 6-30 grams or more carbohydrates, depending on your insulin sensitivity. You can seek the help of your doctor to guide you in the same. 

  • You do not need to disinfect your skin every time with alcohol unless your skin is dirty.
  • If you notice blood or clear fluid (insulin) at the injection site, apply pressure to the area for a few seconds. Avoid rubbing the skin, as this can cause the insulin to be absorbed too quickly.
  • Needles and syringes for injecting insulin should never be shared.
  • If you use an Insulin pen, the cartridges should never be shared, even if you have changed the needle.
  • Avoid injecting your insulin immediately after physical activities and smoking as it can increase and decrease insulin absorption respectively. Besides, you can inject insulin into a non-exercising area, such as the abdomen, to lower the effect of exercise on insulin absorption.
  • If you use an insulin pump, be careful while crossing airport body scanners, X-rays, CT scans, PET scans, and MRIs, as they can all interfere with your insulin pump. Therefore, removing your insulin pump and sensor is better if you’re going through such body scanners.
  • Remember to disconnect from your pump when participating in water activities or showering.
  • Avoid the contact of pump buttons directly with your skin to reduce moisture exposure. It’s better to keep the insulin pump in your pocket.
  • If you are addicted to smoking or have a lung disease, such as asthma or COPD, you shouldn’t use inhaled insulin.
  • If you use an insulin inhaler, you can sip water before and after inhalation to avoid any itchiness in your throat.
  • New insulin and delivery systems that could change your dose and schedule are continually introduced. So keep yourself updated and discuss it with your doctors.

Managing and treating your diabetes include maintaining the proper balance between insulin dosage, eating habits, and daily physical activity. If you are unaware or don’t follow your treatment seriously, your blood sugar levels will become unmanageable, which can lead to complications.

Disclaimer: The information given in this article is accurate to our best knowledge. Still, we recommend you consult your healthcare professional before taking insulin to manage your diabetes.

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