A lot of people with diabetes need to resort to insulin therapy at some point in time. Injecting insulin helps the body to regulate blood sugar levels, thereby preventing some major health problems. However, self-injecting is not an easy task, and one might face various problems before becoming an expert at it.
Most of the below-mentioned issues can be taken care of by improving either your lifestyle or the injecting technique, but it is always better to consult your doctor to figure out the best possible insulin regimen as per your diagnosis.
1. Forgetting To Keep A Tab On Your Blood Sugar:
A lot of people with diabetes tend to become so used to their routine that they forget to check for fluctuations in their blood sugar levels; hence, they end up taking inappropriate dosages continuously. It is imperative to monitor your blood sugar level regularly. You might even need to set reminders for that or place notes on the refrigerator. In any case, don’t forget to keep a tab on your blood sugar.
2. Mixing Up Insulins:
Some people with diabetes might need to take a mix of basal (long-term or intermediate-acting) and bolus (short-term or rapid-acting) insulin. Basal insulin is normally taken once a day at a fixed time daily, while bolus insulin is taken before meals. Some people end up mixing the solutions and take the wrong ones at the wrong time, which can drastically affect blood sugar levels. Learn all about the different types of insulin here.
3. Sharing The Insulin Pen:
Insulin pens are very convenient in self-administering insulin without the hassles of using conventional syringes. However, if more than one person is using the pen, it can lead to infections as the blood and skin cells might stick to the pen, even if you change needles. It makes absolutely no sense to try and cure one disease while unknowingly breeding another at the same time.
4. Skipping Insulin Dosage:
Some people tend to skip their dosage of insulin for various reasons: hectic schedules, skipping meals, erratic diet or sickness. But, one must note that it is imperative to maintain your blood sugar levels at all times; hence, skipping doses makes no sense. Even if you haven’t eaten, are vomiting or have diarrhoea, don’t skip your insulin dose as your sugar levels might be even higher due to stress. Here’s what to do when you miss your insulin dosage.
5. Incorrect Storage:
Insulin’s strength or potency weakens if it’s not stored at the right temperature. Freezing or keeping it under warm conditions kills its potency and renders it useless. Ideally, unopened insulin should be stored in the refrigerator, with the temperature set between 36°F and 46°F. Do not use unopened vials beyond their expiry date. Also, make sure that your insulin looks ‘normal’ before each use, i.e., there should be no clumps, particles, discolouration or frosting on the inside of the bottle.
6. Injecting At The Same Place Over and Over:
Depending on where you inject the insulin, the absorption time also varies. It’s absorbed into the bloodstream the fastest from the abdomen and the slowest from the thigh or buttocks. Although it is recommended that you choose a common area for injecting, sticking the needle at the same spot over and over can cause lumping, which eventually slows down the absorption process. You might be injecting your regular dose but up to 50% can remain unabsorbed due to these hard lumps.
7. Bruising/ Pain While Injecting:
It indicates that you have not been injecting the needle correctly, are moving it too much or you’re not holding down the pen/syringe for the right duration of time. Consult your health advisor to learn the correct technique to avoid any inconvenience, pain or bruising due to the insulin.
In case you face any or all of the problems mentioned above, don’t hesitate to ask your doctor about the corrective solution.