Things you should know about insulin
Although pills are often the first choice when medications are required, insulin is quickly gaining favour as an effective treatment early in the management of type 2 diabetes, not just type 1. Sometimes it is prescribed with pills also.
Prior to being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, your pancreas produced just enough insulin to match the rise in your blood glucose at each meal, and meet your needs between meals and overnight. Now your body produces insulin, but there is not quite enough, or the insulin you do have is not working very well.
There are many types of insulin available giving one greater flexibility in the timing and number of injections needed. One to four or more injections may be suggested to achieve the target blood glucose level. Insulin is prescribed according to your lifestyle, taking into consideration your eating patterns and activity level. Talk to your diabetes care team about what insulin plan best suits your needs.
● Before you leave your pharmacist’s counter, check to be sure that your insulin is the one prescribed for you.
● If you notice white particles in the insulin that do not dissolve, return it to your pharmacist.
● Use a new cartridge or vial. Remember, always check the expiration date to be sure you can finish using it in time. Out of date insulin can lose its strength.
● Insulin is measured in units.
● An insulin pen is a convenient and easy way to take your insulin. Just dial up your dose and deliver it by pressing a button. If you think an insulin pen might work for you, ask your diabetes team.
● The most common cartridge for an insulin pen holds 3 mL or 300 units.
For best results, inject insulin into the fat layer just under your skin. If the insulin is injected into the muscle, it gets absorbed into the bloodstream too fast. The abdomen is the best site. The upper arm, outer upper thigh, and buttocks are acceptable sites with slower absorption rates.
● Refrigerate unopened insulin.
● Opened cartridges can be kept at room temperature for 30 days. Check your expiry date on the insulin cartridge before every use. ● Never let insulin freeze or get warmer than room temperature.
If you have questions ask your health care team. They are there to assist you.