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Things to Keep in Mind before Injecting Insulin
- If insulin injections may play a major role in your diabetes treatment, here’s some solid advice from Dr Sanjay Kalra to set your mind, and your body at rest. Always follow your doctor’s directions on how much to use and when.
- Insulin needs to be injected into fatty areas beneath the skin (subcutaneously), and not into the muscles (it hurts more and insulin gets absorbed faster leading to risk of lowered blood sugar). Also, do not inject into scar tissue, swellings moles, nerves, varicose veins, or bruised sites.
- There are a few areas that are most preferable to pick—in order of how fast insulin is absorbed into the body: the abdomen, the back of the upper arms, the fleshy part of the thighs, the buttocks.
- Know about the correct positions and injection technique. For abdomen, stay three inches away from bellybutton. For thighs, the front and outer area is the best option. For arms, you may inject into fatty tissue between the shoulder and the elbow. For buttocks, strictly avoid the lower area.
- Make sure to keep the time of day and body part the same. For instance, if your morning dose is given in the arms, then continue to do this every morning. Your afternoon site may be the thighs.
- Move the next injection site at least at a finger’s distance from the previous site. Or else, there’s a possibility of developing hard lumps or fatty deposits, which can change the way insulin is absorbed into the body.
- When injecting, keep muscles relaxed. Do not massage the spot after you inject.
- If you are into sports or involved in strenuous physical activities, don’t inject insulin into an area which is affected by the exercise you are doing. For example, if you plan to jog after your morning injection, avoid insertion of insulin into your thighs.
- Get a clear idea from your doctor about the size of the needle and the injection schedule which you need to follow. If you are not comfortable with syringes, speak to your doctor and try out other delivery options such as pens or pumps. (To read more, go to page 2)