Insulin treatment

February 2017

Insulin is routinely prescribed for people with Insulin Dependent Diabetes (Type I) and many Type II diabetics . Treatment involves lifelong daily injections of insulin.

The choice of insulin, dosage and number of injections will be advised to you by your GP, practice nurse or the hospital diabetic specialist.

Types of insulin



There are several types of insulin depending mainly on how quickly they act and how long they stay in the bloodstream.
  • Rapid-acting insulin: pass very quickly into the bloodstream, and act from 5 minutes after injection lasting approximately 2 to 3 hours. It is usually injected with or after food.
  • Short-acting insulin: acts after 30 minutes, peaks at 2 to 6 hours, and lasts up to 8 hours. This insulin is intended to control blood sugar after meals.
  • Medium-acting insulin: can be given once or twice a day to provide background insulin. It lasts for 10 to 18 hours.
  • Long-acting insulin : usually given once a day and can last up to 30 hours.
  • Other insulin:
    • Mixed insulin is a combination of medium-acting and short-acting insulin.
    • Mixed analogue is a combination of medium-acting and rapid-acting insulin.

How to store insulin?


  • Keep out of the sight and reach of children
  • Keep the vial of insulin used each day at room temperature
  • Once opened, the vial can be used for up to 28 days
  • Remaining unused insulin vials should be stored in the refrigerator
  • Freezing will destroy the action of insulin.
  • Avoid leaving bottles in the sun.
  • Make sure the vial is in date before using
  • The hotter the insulin, the better it is absorbed.
  • A hot bath took immediately after injection will raise insulin slightly faster because the skin temperature affects the rate of absorption of insulin.
  • If you have any questions about the insulin medication, please feel free to ask your pharmacist or GP.

Insulin Injection technique


You must know where to inject safely and techniques involved:
  • The preparation of an insulin injection pen depends on the model of your pen device - this will be shown to you. The pens are discreet and easily portable
  • Always wash your hands with soap and water before injecting . There is usually no need to clean the skin with alcohol, except in certain circumstances
  • Arms, abdomen, thighs, buttocks are the most recommended areas
  • Insulin injected into your abdomen passes more quickly than injected into your arm and thigh
  • Avoid certain areas: around the navel, near your knees ....
  • Check the condition of the skin before injecting because this will affect the absorption of the insulin - avoid areas with scars, patches of eczema, or infections
  • Rotate the injection site to avoid any skin or fat complications (for example, lipodystrophy)
  • Use the same body area in any given day but avoid pricking the needle in the actual same spot
  • For example: inject into your abdomen in the morning, at noon, use your arms, and in the evening, inject in your thighs or buttocks
  • Insert the needle into your skin at right angles

Blood sugar monitoring

  • Check that your blood sugar is not too low before injecting and on waking in the morning
  • Self-measure your blood glucose 3 to 4 times a day before meals and at bedtime
  • The amount of insulin you need may vary from day to day according to what you eat and how much exercise you do

The insulin pump


An insulin pump provides continuous administration of insulin into your subcutaneous tissue (just beneath your skin).

The pumps are used if you are admitted into hospital and the doctors want to monitor and treat your diabetes very closely.

Related


Insuline - Rôle, injection et effets secondaires
Insuline - Rôle, injection et effets secondaires
El tratamiento con insulina
El tratamiento con insulina
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