Insulin is normally made by the pancreas, a gland behind the stomach. In people with diabetes, the pancreas no longer makes enough insulin or it stops making it. Without insulin, your blood sugar level rises to dangerous levels. When this happens, you need insulin shots to keep your blood sugar in your target range.
You may be nervous giving a shot at first. But soon, giving yourself a shot will become routine. It is quite easy to learn how to draw up insulin into a syringe and give the shot. The needles you use to give the insulin injections are very thin, and most people who have diabetes say they do not even feel the needle enter the skin. Even if you do feel the injection, the sting of the shot is not bad and does not last long. More than half a million people do it every day. You can too.
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.
If you have poor eyesight, have problems using your hands, or cannot prepare a dose of insulin, you may need someone to prepare your insulin injections ahead of time.
Preparing the shot
For a single type of insulin shot:
Before giving your shot:
You can inject insulin into:
Your doctor may advise you to give your shots in different places on your body each day. This is called site rotation. If you are going to rotate sites, check with your doctor to make sure you know how to do it right. Use the same site at the same time of each day. For example, each day:
Slightly change the spot where you give an insulin shot each time you do it. For example, use five different places on the right upper arm, then use five places on the left upper arm. Using the same spot every time can cause bumps or pits in the skin and make the shots hurt more. It may also slow down how the insulin is absorbed into your body.
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Current as of: March 13, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Rhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator & David C.W. Lau, MD, PhD, FRCPC - Endocrinology
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