Introduction to Insulin

Posted Jun 7, 2011 | Posted in Diseases & Treatments

Insulin-syringe-and-vial-resizeFor millions of people, insulin is an important part of their diabetes treatment program, helping control the level of blood glucose in the body. When you have diabetes, your body can’t sufficiently produce enough insulin, the hormone that helps glucose move from the blood into your body cells. That’s where supplements come in. The most common way to get insulin is to inject it with an insulin pen, syringe, or pump. The types of insulin differ in their onset, time of peak and duration of action. Rapid (or short acting) insulin is usually taken before meals, long-acting insulin is taken at supper or bedtime, and some premixed insulin combines the two. We can help you decide which type of insulin is best for you and develop an insulin plan based on your exercise and eating habits.

Insulin works best when injected into the fat layer just beneath the skin.  To avoid lumps or building up scar tissue, you can inject insulin in the same areas, but not the exact same spot. Some areas of the body to use include the:

  • Abdomen (except a two inch circle around the belly button)
  • Thighs (top and outer parts)
  • Backs of the upper arms

Here are a few tips for storing insulin:

  • Keep unopened insulin containers in the refrigerator.
  • Once the container is open, it can be stored at room temperature for as long as the label permits.
  • Keep insulin products from becoming too hot or too cold.
  • Never use insulin after the expiration date.
  • Use needle tips and syringes once and then dispose of them in a safe container labeled “diabetes supplies.” Many states have laws on how to dispose of diabetes products.

Managing diabetes can be difficult at times, but working with your diabetes-care team, family and friends, can help you live a full and happy life with diabetes. Diabetes education at Johnston Health is recognized by the American Diabetes Association and meets the National Standards for Diabetes Self-Management Education. We can help you manage your diabetes while teaching you to live a healthier lifestyle. Ask your doctor for a referral to our diabetes education program and set up an appointment to see a diabetes educator by calling 919-938-7749.

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