Managing diabetes is a challenge for millions of people globally, and insulin therapy is a crucial element in its treatment. It is vital to follow best practices to ensure optimal absorption and prevent complications when insulin is injected or infused. This article will delve into the best practices for insulin therapy.
Type of Needles and Injecting Technique
The type of needle and injecting technique used for insulin therapy depends on the type of insulin, the individual’s insulin regimen, and the individual’s preferences. The most common needles used for insulin therapy are 4mm, 5mm, 6mm, 8mm, 10mm, and 12mm in length. Shorter needles are more commonly used due to their ease of use, less pain, and reduced risk of injecting into muscle tissue. Longer needles are used for people who have more subcutaneous fat and require deeper injections.
There are three main injecting techniques for insulin therapy: subcutaneous, intramuscular, and intravenous. The subcutaneous technique is the most common and involves injecting insulin into the fatty tissue between the skin and the muscle. Intramuscular injections are less common and are used when a rapid onset of insulin is needed. Intravenous injections are not recommended for routine insulin therapy and are reserved for emergency situations.
Disinfection and Injection Sites
Before injecting insulin, it is essential to disinfect the injection site with an alcohol swab or other disinfectant. The injection site should be rotated to avoid repeated injections in the same area, which can lead to lumps and other skin reactions. Injection sites for insulin therapy include the abdomen, upper arm, thigh, and buttocks. The abdomen is the most common injection site due to its large surface area and easy accessibility. The upper arm, thigh, and buttocks can also be used but are less commonly used due to their difficulty in accessing and injecting.
The Correct Use of Insulin Pens
Insulin pens are a convenient and easy-to-use option for insulin therapy. There are two types of insulin pens: reusable and disposable. Reusable insulin pens can be used for several years with the replacement of insulin cartridges. Disposable insulin pens are pre-filled with insulin and are discarded after use. Insulin pens have a dial to select the desired dose and a button to inject the insulin. Before using an insulin pen, it is essential to prime the pen to ensure that the correct dose is delivered.
Proper Use of Syringes
Syringes are another option for insulin therapy and are available in different sizes and capacities. When using syringes for insulin therapy, it is important to select the correct syringe size based on the volume of insulin needed. The syringe should be held at a 90-degree angle when injecting into the subcutaneous tissue. After the injection, the needle should be removed quickly and at the same angle as insertion.
How to Inject Insulin Analogues and Other Injectable Medications
Insulin analogues are a newer type of insulin that is designed to mimic the natural insulin secretion of the body. They are available in rapid-acting, long-acting, and intermediate-acting formulations. Injectable medications other than insulin, such as glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 RA) and amylin analogs, can also be used for diabetes management. The injection techniques for
injecting insulin analogues and other injectable medications are similar to those used for insulin therapy.
How to Lift a Skin Fold
Lifting a skin fold is a technique used to ensure that insulin is injected into the subcutaneous tissue and not into muscle tissue. To lift a skin fold, the skin is pinched between the thumb and forefinger and lifted away from the muscle tissue. The needle is then inserted into the subcutaneous tissue at a 90-degree angle and the insulin is injected.
Injections and Insertions During Pregnancy
Pregnant women with diabetes require insulin therapy to manage their blood glucose levels. It is important for pregnant women to closely monitor their blood glucose levels and to maintain strict control. Insulin injections and infusions can be given throughout pregnancy, but the injection site should be rotated to avoid repeated injections in the same area. The abdomen is the most commonly used injection site during pregnancy.
How to Rotate Injection Sites
Rotating injection sites is important to avoid repeated injections in the same area, which can lead to skin reactions, lumps, and other complications. Injection sites should be rotated within a particular area, such as the abdomen or thigh, and not between different areas. A simple way to remember which site was used last is to keep a record or use a marking system, such as a dot or an “X,” at the injection site.
About Reusing Insulin Syringes and Pen Needles
Reusing insulin syringes and pen needles is not recommended due to the risk of contamination, infection, and inaccurate dosing. Insulin syringes and pen needles should be discarded after one use and should not be shared with others.
Bleeding and Bruising After Injections
Bleeding and bruising after injections can occur due to improper injection techniques or needle size selection. To minimize bleeding and bruising, a small needle size should be used, and the injection site should be held firmly after the injection for a few seconds. If bleeding or bruising persists, a healthcare provider should be consulted.
Insulin leakage can occur when insulin is injected into the subcutaneous tissue at an incorrect angle or when the needle is withdrawn too quickly. To avoid insulin leakage, the injection site should be held firmly after injection for a few seconds, and the needle should be withdrawn slowly.
Using Insulin Infusion Sets for Insulin Pumps
Insulin pumps are a popular option for people with type 1 diabetes who require insulin therapy. An insulin pump is a small device that delivers insulin through an infusion set, which consists of a small tube inserted under the skin and a cannula, a small needle that is inserted into the subcutaneous tissue. The infusion set should be changed every two to three days to avoid skin irritation and infection. The insertion site should be rotated with each set change.
Proper injection and infusion techniques are critical to ensure optimal absorption of insulin and to avoid potential complications. Injection sites should be rotated, and needles and syringes should be used once and discarded. Lifting a skin fold can ensure that insulin is injected into the subcutaneous tissue and not into muscle tissue. Insulin pumps are a popular option for people with type 1 diabetes, but infusion sets should be changed regularly to avoid skin irritation and infection. By following best practices for insulin therapy, people with diabetes can achieve better blood glucose control and improve their overall health and quality of life.