For individuals with type 1 diabetes and some individuals with type 2 diabetes, getting the correct amount of insulin your body needs is one of the most important ways to manage blood glucose levels. Monitoring blood glucose levels and administering insulin is a necessary routine.
New technologies, such as smartphone-like touchscreen insulin pumps, are simple to use and can make administering insulin more convenient. There are factors that affect the absorption and performance of your insulin that are important to understand as well.
Insulin Injection Site
The injection site can affect how quickly the body absorbs insulin. Continuously using the same injection site may cause the body to form scar tissue, which can cause slower absorption. Regardless of the method of injection, it is recommended that the injection site is regularly changed as to avoid the development of scar tissue.
Exercise increases blood flow, which in turn increases the absorption rate of insulin. If the body absorbs insulin too quickly, it may lead to hypoglycemia. Individuals with diabetes should avoid doing exercise during the peak time of action for their insulin injection, since blood glucose levels may be lowered for up to twenty four hours after physical activity.
Individuals who plan to exercise after injecting insulin should also be sure to inject insulin in a part of the body that will not be affected by the exercise. For example, if you plan to go running after injecting insulin, do not administer insulin into the leg.
Heat causes blood vessels to dilate, or expand in size, and will increase blood flow. If the skin of the injection site is warm, insulin will be absorbed more quickly than if the injection site is cold. It is recommended that individuals with diabetes avoid extreme temperatures after administering insulin.
Extremely hot environments after insulin injection, such as may occur from taking a hot shower, may cause a reaction such as hypoglycemia. Alternatively, extremely cold environments, such as spending time outside in the winter without proper clothing, may lead to less absorption of insulin, and potentially high blood sugar levels, which can be very dangerous.
The State of the Insulin
The stability and state of the insulin can have an effect on how the body absorbs it. Insulin that has been open for too long or that has been exposed to extreme temperatures may perform very poorly.
For this reason, it is imperative to follow all storage instructions for insulin according to the package insert. Always inspect vials that are in use to ensure that they have not changed in color, translucency, or consistency.
Communicate With Your Healthcare Provider
Always speak with your physician and your diabetes management team before making changes to your insulin administration routine. Healthcare professionals can help you better understand the factors that affect insulin absorption, and the methods that are best for you and your specific diagnosis.