IMPROVING DIABETES CARE
Know how to improve your own diabetic care
IN 2014, an estimated 422 million people worldwide were living with diabetes, with a further 46% of people currently undiagnosed. These are startling figures from World Health Organisation. In Australia, diabetes is the fastest growing chronic condition, increasing at a higher rate than heart disease and cancer, with 1.7 million people already diagnosed with diabetes and a further 280 people are developing the disease every day. That’s one Australian every five minutes. With these statistics in mind, consistent and frequent conversations with your health care professionals are necessary, to help optimise your diabetes treatment outcomes while improving diabetes care.
WHAT CAN BE IMPROVED?
It’s important that all elements of diabetes care are recognised and everyone is given affordable and equitable access to care. One element of diabetes care that often gets pushed to the side, is a correct injection technique, which is thought to be assumed knowledge. Even people who have been injecting their diabetes medication for many years, can develop poor injection technique or inconsistencies when administering their medication. This can impact on blood glucose levels and result in adverse outcomes. Therefore, it’s important to keep diabetes care top of mind and give the community access to education so that they can better manage their diabetes and improve their health outcomes. People with diabetes are encouraged to initiate conversations with their healthcare professionals to stay up-to-date with best injection practice to ensure their diabetes medication is being administered correctly.
CORRECT INJECTION TECHNIQUE.
In the past, the focus for managing diabetes has generally been on the type or dose of injectable diabetes medicine, without fully appreciating that correct injection technique can also have a profound effect. Based on the latest clinical recommendations, the use of short pen needles (4mm or 5mm) is a critical component for a positive injection experience. Short needles can reduce the risk of injecting diabetes medication into a muscle which can affect how your medication works and impact your blood glucose levels.
USE OF SHORTER NEEDLES.
Diabetes health care professionals have been actively promoting the use of shorter needles for several years. This has been due to a
variety of reasons – all equally important: Longer 6mm, 8mm and 12mm pen needles are associated with a greater risk of delivering diabetes medicine into muscle rather than the intended fatty layer just below the skin. Injecting into muscle also can result in bruising, bleeding and increased pain. The length of the needle can be particularly important in terms of the degree of emotional distress around injecting. Often people with diabetes who are overweight, believe they should use a longer needle (6mm or 8mm), without understanding that their skin thickness is the same as people with a healthy BMI. Many people with diabetes are simply unaware that short (4mm and
5mm) pen needles exist and may provide
a more comfortable injection experience. This might not sound important, however, if you’re a person progressing from one injection a day to four, injection comfort can make a significant difference to managing your diabetes. The number one goal is to ensure that injectable diabetes medication is delivered in the right tissue space, at the right time, in the right way, every time. In keeping with this goal, a number of injection techniques, which is a set of ‘Golden Rules’, have been developed by an international group of diabetes experts from 54 countries for adults and children, which aim to: • minimise unexplained hypoglycaemia • assist in providing a more stable range of blood glucose level results • improve injection comfort and adherence to therapy.
Correct injection technique can make an important difference to blood glucose levels and help people manage their diabetes more easily with improved diabetic care. To better understand the various components of correct injection technique, simply strike up a conversation with your doctor or diabetes educator. Collaboration with your healthcare professional will provide you with the necessary support to optimise your treatment outcomes and may make managing your diabetes a little easier.
• Injection technique is a fundamental element for improving diabetes care which often gets pushed aside.
• Short pen needles (4mm or 5mm) not only provide a more comfortable injection experience but can reduce the risk of injecting diabetes medication into a muscle, impacting blood glucose levels.
• The ‘Golden Rules’ of injection technique have been developed for adults and children to help people manage their diabetes more easily.
Michelle Robbins has been a Credentialed Diabetes Educator since 1993 and is currently employed as the Nurse Practitioner Diabetes at Northern Health in Victoria. She is a member of the Deakin University Conjoint Academic staff and has produced several clinical guidelines and position statements for the Australian Diabetes Educators Association.
Always consult your healthcare professional regarding treatment of your diabetes.