Lipohypertrophy is fat tissue that builds up if you give your insulin shot in the same spot many times over time. The spot may start to feel firmer than the skin around it. This problem can lead to insulin not being absorbed at the same rate every time. This can cause high or low blood sugars.
The buildup of fat tissue can happen anywhere that insulin is given. It's common in the belly. That is the most common area for insulin shots. But it also can happen in the buttocks and the top outer part of the thighs and arms.
You may be able to prevent the buildup of fat by not injecting insulin in the same spot many times. You can do this by rotating where you inject insulin.
If you already have this problem, your doctor may suggest that you not inject insulin in the area of fat buildup for a few months.
There are four areas of the body where you can give the insulin shot. You can use a different area for different times of the day. Areas include:
If you give your insulin in the same area at the same time of day, it will help you predict how the insulin will work for you. For example, if you inject into your thigh at every lunch, you will know more about how lunchtime insulin works for you.
Slightly change the spot within the injection area every time you inject insulin. Here is an example of rotating the spots where you give yourself your insulin shots. Follow this pattern for the rest of the week.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
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Current as of: July 25, 2018
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & David C. W. Lau, MD, PhD, FRCPC - Endocrinology
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