Insulin is a hormone produced by pancreas to regulate the glucose levels in the blood. Since there is a lack of insulin produced by the body (in Type 1 diabetes) or insufficient insulin in the body (in Type 2 diabetes), the insulin need to be taken through other sources in the form of insulin injections by syringe or pen or by using an insulin pump.

The insulins that you inject in your body are have 3 major actions

  • Basal Insulin: this insulin works to cover the glucose secreted by your liver and distribute it to your body cells, examples of this type of insulin are
  • Long acting insulin and Intermediate acting insulin (NPH)
  • Bolus Insulin: This insulin covers the glucose coming from the food and corrects the high blood glucose levels. Examples of this type of insulin are
  • Rapid acting insulin and Short acting insulin (Regular)
  • Mixed insulin which consists of the basal and bolus insulin mixed together like Rapid acting insulin mixed with NPH or Short acting insulin with NPH.

Insulin are injected in specific sites in the body including the

  • Abdomen
  • Arms
  • Thighs
  • Buttocks

However, it is important to watch over the following:
1. Insulin priming:

  • This step is important in order to remove any air bubbles stuck in the needle or insulin vial or cartridge
  • You can do good priming by holding the pen, dialing up around 2 units and pushing the plunger as if you are performing an injection in the air. This requires Repeat the air shot until you do get a steady stream of insulin coming out.

2. Rotate insulin injection sites and choose a soft fatty area to inject.

  • Check your injection sites especially for swollen tissue or hardness under the skin
  • Move away from these sites to ensure good insulin absorption

3. Remember that after the dose has been injected, hold the needle in for 15 seconds to help insulin get delivered and prevent any of the insulin escaping out.
4. Be careful with insulin handling and storage:
To keep your insulin effective, take care of how it is stored:

  • Unused insulin should be left in the refrigerator door.
  • Opened insulin can be kept in the refrigerator or at room temperature in winter or in a cold place in summer for no more than 4 weeks.
  • Keep the insulin away from sunlight and intense heat (such as leaving your insulin pen in the car)
  • While traveling keep the insulin in insulin bag

For more information about your insulin injection technique and storage visit your diabetes educator