- Insulin Therapy
- Frequently Asked Questions
Once you start insulin treatment, will it have to be continued throughout life?
It depends on the type of diabetes the patient has. Those who have type 1 diabetes will have to continue throughout life. In Type 2 diabetes, insulin may started usually only for a surgery, or while suffering from seriously infection during treatment of infected wounds. This injection can be stopped after recovery and then tables can be continued.
Insulin injection is unavoidable in diabetic pregnant woman. For Type 2 diabetics, insulin may become necessary along with tablets when sugar levels cannot be controlled otherwise. But, in most cases, insulin can be discontinued after a few months when blood sugar levels been brought under control.
Is insulin to be taken only during the last stage of diabetes?
Insulin is a hormone naturally produced in our body by the pancreas. Insulin is necessary for the proper conversion and absorption of energy from foods like carbohydrates e.g. Rice, wheat, sooji etc. When the natural production of insulin our body becomes less, or if the available insulin is not effectively functioning, the glucose levels in our blood increases beyond desirable limits and causes diabetes. The natural insulin produced by pancreas cannot be considered as a medicine. It is an essential hormone needed for a normal healthy life.
Insulin treatment, if required, should be started at the proper time to avoid development of complications in later. It is always advisable to start it, if deemed necessary, early enough rather than delaying it.
Will insulin affect the kidney functioning?
No! This baseless doubt will only be spread by quacks who have no real knowledge about diabetes. In fact, timely starting of insulin treatment will greatly help to avoid any damage to the kidney. Diabetics should exercise continuous vigil over blood pressure also, besides control of blood sugar.
Is it necessary to shake the bottle before taking insulin into the syringe?
It depends on the type of insulin used. Transparent, clean insulin like Actapid, Plain, Fastact, Huminsulin-R need not to be shaken. But, opaque insulin solution like Mixact, Monitored, Lente, Hum insulin 30/70 should be gently mixed before use. Vigorous shaking should be avoided because it will reduce the efficiency of insulin. So the bottle should be gently rolled between the palms 4 or 5 times.
Is insulin injection painful?
No. By using proper syringe and choosing the right place of the body for injection, anyone can easily practice the proper way of taking painless injection oneself.
How many times can a syringe be used?
Most of the syringe manufactures recommend the use of the syringe only once. But, due to the cost involved, this is not practical in our country. A syringe can be reused as long as the injection is painless. Once it becomes painful, it means that the needle has become blunt. Only then the syringe needs to be replaced. Only one person should use a syringe.
Should insulin be taken only on arms?
No! Insulin can be injected in the stomach region about 2” below the navel and also on the top and sides of the thighs. Insulin is most effective when injected in the stomach region. The exact place of injection should be changed every day. Repeated injections at the same place will become painful. The skin in that area may thicken. This will reduce the effect of insulin.
When should insulin be taken before or after meals?
This depends on the type of insulin. Plain, Hum-insulin-R and Hum insulin 30/70 are to be injected at least half an hour before meals to allow for proper absorption and distribution in the blood stream. If food is not taken within half an hour, hypoglycaemia may occur.
Monotard, Lente, Insulated, Hum insulin –N can be taken either before or after meals. Depending on various factors, your doctor will give you the necessary advice in before meals.
New insulins like lispro aspart and Novomix can be taken just before meals. Insulin like Lantus (Glargine) and Levemer (Detemir) can be taken any time.
Should insulin be kept in fridge?
Unopened insulin bottles should be kept in the fridge, preferably in the second shelf. Insulin bottles in use should not be kept in the fridge. This can be kept at room – temperature for one or two months, but you should be careful to keep it away from heat and bright light. Opened insulin should not be used after three months.
How is insulin injected?
First, air has to be taken into the syringe, equal to the volume of insulin you have to inject. Then, introduce the needle to the upturned bottle and expel the air completely. Then, draw the desired quantity of insulin into the syringe.
Only one person should use a syringe. Spirit need not be used for cleaning before using the syringe. After pulling out the skin, introduce the needle at 90 – degree angle. DO NOT PRESS in the syringe and kept out for some time till comes to room temperature. Or massage the skin after injection. If insulin is taken from the fridge, it should be drawn Cold insulin can cause pain.
How is insulin made?
Earlier, insulin for injection was produced from the pigs and sheep. But now human insulin is available. This is not taken from human pancreas, but is produced on large scale by introducing some genetic combination into certain bacteria and fungus. Though there is not much difference in the quality of animal or human insulin, now-a-days, human insulin is more popular.
How insulin should does be adjusted, if one is suffering from other illness?
The quantity of insulin should not be reduced even if one has other illness. But the dose can be adjustment if you can monitoring of blood sugars. Insulin should never be stopped in people with Type 1 diabetes. Sick people should drink lot of water and fluids. If sugar levels rise abnormally, or if one feels exhausted, or has breathless or stomach pain, the patient should be immediately taken to the hospital. You should remember that self – medication in such cases is very risky.
When should insulin be started?
If Type 1 diabetes is confirmed, insulin has to be started immediately. Tablets are not effective for such patients. For type 2 patients, insulin need to be started only when tablets along with proper diet control, exercise schedules, obesity control and lifestyle modifications do not achieve proper control of blood sugar levels and diabetes getting out of control. Then, consult a doctor for guidance and treatment.