How to Take Insulin for Diabetes: Everything You Should Know
Knowing how to take insulin is very important for diabetics. Click here for a comprehensive guide with everything worth knowing.
Did you know that diabetes is one of the leading causes of death in the United States?
While the condition itself won’t kill you, there are serious complications that you can develop. For one thing, it can damage your heart.
While there’s no cure, you can manage it with medication. Couple that with lifestyle changes and it is possible to go into remission.
Do you have a loved one with diabetes? Want to know how to take insulin? If so, you’re in the right place!
We’ll be going over everything that you need to know—so be sure to keep reading!
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic condition in which blood sugar levels become too high. This can be due to a lack of insulin, a hormone that moves sugar into the cells for energy. For example, your body might not make enough or any.
Sometimes, however, diabetes occurs because your body becomes resistant to insulin—that is, it doesn’t respond to the hormone as well as it should.
Different Types of Diabetes
There are three types of diabetes, each of which requires different treatment. Here’s a quick rundown:
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is considered an autoimmune disease. Put it simply, the immune system attacks your pancreas, the gland that’s responsible for making the hormone. As a result, there’s a lack of insulin. The cause for this is unknown.
Approximately 5% of diabetics have this type of diabetes. While it can appear at any age, it’s typically diagnosed in children and young adults.
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes occurs because your body becomes resistant to insulin. As a result, it can’t use it well—this causes blood sugar to increase. In the later stages, your pancreas may stop producing insulin altogether.
Generally speaking, it’s seen in middle-aged and older adults. However, it can occur at any age.
Gestational diabetes is unique in that it occurs during pregnancy. It causes blood sugar levels to increase, which can potentially affect the baby’s health.
Fortunately, it tends to go away after the baby is born. With that said, it can put the mother at a higher risk for type 2 diabetes later in life.
Symptoms of Diabetes
Diabetes can cause a variety of symptoms. Some of the most common ones include increased thirst, frequent urination, weight loss, blurry vision, and fatigue.
Those with type 1 diabetes may also experience stomach pains, nausea, or vomiting.
It’s important to note, however, that some people will not have any symptoms at all. For this reason, it’s a good idea to get tested if you are at high risk (e.g. overweight, a family member with diabetes).
Potential Complications of Diabetes
Left untreated, diabetes can lead to serious complications. The higher your blood sugar, the greater the risk.
For example, it can cause heart disease, stroke, kidney damage, and nerve damage. Vision and hearing loss are also uncommon. Some people may also experience depression or dementia.
Treatment Options for Diabetes
There are several medications that are effective at reducing blood sugar levels. Some of these are taken by mouth whereas others are injectables (i.e. insulin).
At the end of the day, it depends on the type of diabetes that you have and the severity. Your doctor will prescribe the type that’s best for you.
How to Take Insulin
Insulin is the main treatment for those with type 1 diabetes. However, it may also be necessary for some individuals with type 2 diabetes.
Unlike other medications, it cannot be taken by mouth—you must inject it into the body. For example, you can use a syringe or an insulin pen.
As far as where to inject, you can choose between different parts of the body. The most common areas include the thighs, upper arms, abdomen, and buttocks.
For the best results, vary the location. That will prevent your skin from thickening due to the constant injections.
Insulin For Type 1 Diabetics
There are four types of insulin that are used by those with type 1 diabetes. You can tell them apart based on how fast they work and how long their effects last:
Rapid-acting insulin works the quickest. Generally speaking, it takes around 15 minutes; the effect will go on to last 3-4 hours.
Short-acting insulin is the second-quickest. It starts to work within 30 minutes and will last from 6-8 hours.
Intermediate-acting insulin is usually taken together with a short-acting insulin. Upon injection, it will start to work within the first hour; the effects generally last at least 12 hours.
Long-acting insulin is capable of controlling blood sugar levels for the entire day—that is, the effects last more than 24 hours.
Insulin For Type 2 Diabetics
Insulin is sometimes necessary for type 2 diabetics if their pancreas doesn’t produce enough. For example, your doctor might tell you to use a long-acting insulin at night or a short-acting injection several times a day.
With that said, most people are able to manage their blood sugar levels with oral medications.
Risk of Hypoglycemia
Taking insulin can sometimes result in hypoglycemia. Basically, it means that your blood sugar levels are too low. This can sometimes happen if you don’t eat enough.
Symptoms include dizziness, confusion, fatigue, difficulty speaking, and sweating. If left untreated, it can lead to diabetic coma, which can be fatal.
The quickest way to treat hypoglycemia is to eat or drink something sweet. For example, you can raise your blood sugar levels by eating a tablespoon of honey.
Stabilizing Blood Sugar Levels
And there we have it—a short guide on how to take insulin. As you can see, there are various kinds, each of which has a different onset of action!
Looking for a doctor in the Brooklyn area? Feel free to contact us to make an appointment!