Insulin and Injections with Type 1 Diabetes
Hi, and welcome back to Type 1 Diabetes
explained. Today we will go over how Diabetes is treated by looking at the
different types of insulin as well as injection methods. If you’ve been
diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, then your doctors most likely prescribed you some
type of insulin, and they also probably gave you more than one type. So you might be wondering: Why do I need more than one type of insulin? Isn’t insulin just
insulin? Well, you’re partially correct. If you
don’t have Diabetes then your pancreas is always producing insulin and pumping
it into your body. Then, when you eat, your pancreas produces the large amount of
insulin to cover the food that you just ate. But if you have Diabetes, your
pancreas isn’t producing insulin as well as it should be so you have to give your
body extra. This is where the two different types of insulin come in.
Chances are that your doctors prescribed you a long-acting insulin and a
short-acting insulin. Let’s look at each of these. The long-acting insulin is
active for a long period of time, sometimes over 24 hours. This means that the insulin is present in your bloodstream for a long period of time.
The long-acting insulin simulates the pancreas giving out small amounts of
insulin all the time. You’ll most likely give your long-acting insulin once daily.
The short-acting insulin is active for a much shorter period of time. The short
acting insulin is used when you’re about to eat to cover for the extra glucose.
The short acting insulin is most active around the three-hour mark, but can be
present for up to 10 or 11 hours. You will take the short acting insulin
before you eat or if your blood sugars are high. This stimulates the pancreas
giving out large amounts of insulin to cover for the extra glucose after eating.
Now that we know what the two main types of insulin are, let’s look at the two
different injection methods of insulin. You will most likely either give insulin
through a syringe or an insulin pen. The syringe is pretty simple, you draw the
insulin out of a separate container and then inject it through the needle on the
end of the syringe. The pens are roughly the same size as a pencil. The main
difference is that they hold insulin and a small glass tube at the end of the pen
and you twist a dial on the other end to determine the dose. Here are some safety
tips when given insulin injections either with a syringe or an insulin pen.
Always use a new, sterile needle. Make sure that the packaging is present and
undamaged. Using an unsterile needle or using the same needle for more than one
injection can lead to the injection site getting infected from any bacteria that
could have collected on the needle. Also, never share needles with anybody else.
This is one of the easiest ways to spread blood-borne diseases and is just
common sense not to share. Another very important thing to remember is to vary
your injection site. If you inject your insulin in the same spot over and over
again scar tissue will begin to build up and the insulin will not be able to
absorb into your body correctly and your blood sugars will rise. Acceptable
locations for insulin injection include the stomach thighs and the back of the
arms. Consult your doctor to determine what areas are best for you to inject
your insulin or about any other areas that might be useful. The injections may
be painful, so here are a few ways to reduce the amount of pain while giving insulin. Use the shortest needle possible. The shorter the needle, the less it goes
into the body. Talk with your doctor about what size needle will be best not
only for injecting insulin properly but also causing the least pain. You can also
try numbing the area with a piece of ice or cold spoon shortly before injecting
or ask your doctor about topical anesthetics that will have a similar
effect. As always, make sure that the techniques you are using are what is
best for you. Not every technique works for everybody. Your doctor will always
know what will best manage your Diabetes.