While taking insulin might not be an option for many, ensuring you are armed with all the finer details that will prevent you from landing in unnecessary complications is a choice you make. Here are top 5 things you must not forget if you take it regularly:
- Dosage and administration
The dose varies for each patient. A combination of short or rapid-acting and intermediate or long-acting insulin typically are used as a part of treatment. Multiple daily shots of it or continuous subcutaneous infusions using a pump that closely mimics secretion of insulin by the pancreas are also used in the management of diabetes. Talk to your doctor about what works the best for you. For managing critically ill patients, insulin sliding scales wherein the doses of insulin are determined by the glucose level are used. After taking a dose of it, the patient should have the meal within 30 minutes. It is commonly administered via subcutaneous injection on the abdominal wall, thigh, buttocks, or upper arm and some insulins can be administered intravenously too. The site of injection must be rotated within the same region. The patient may need increasing doses if he/she develops resistance to it.
- The injections are user-friendly
Most patients are scared of taking it because of the pain inflicted by the needle. However, the new-age insulin pens are so advanced that using them is nearly child’s play. These pens have tiny needles that are almost painless, and some types of it use injectors to push insulin through the skin without needles.
- Side effects of Insulin
Hypoglycemia is the most frequent side effect. Occasionally, blurry vision is experienced by patients when the treatment is started. Dermatologic reactions to insulin can result in lipohypertrophy or lipoatrophy. Weight gain in the form of oedema is seen at the start treatment; this is due to immediate restoration of glucose control which was poor previously. Hypoglycemia caused due to insulin can affect the kidneys by reducing the renal plasma flow, glomerular filtration rate, and marked the rise in urinary albumin excretion rate. Ensure you keep a sachet of sugar or some sweet candies always with you when on the move to suck on if you experience hypoglycemia.
- Appropriate storage of insulin is essential
Always store your insulin in a refrigerator to keep it cool, but never allow it to freeze. Once opened, do not keep it for more than 28 days. Like any other medicines, do not use it past the expiry date. Be aware of how your insulin should look like, i.e., color and fluidity, and always check before injecting it.
- Know what to do if you miss a dose
Always consult your physician about this scenario because the plan of action will depend on the types of insulin being administered. If you forget to take your long-acting insulin and realize it within 2 hours, then it is okay to inject your usual dose. In some cases, you may have to take short-acting insulin to lower your blood glucose levels if they are high when you notice that you have missed a dose.