The most common way of treating diabetes, whether it is type 1 or type 2, is through an insulin injection, as needed.
Insulin can be injected by a number of different methods, including with syringes, insulin pens, jet injectors, and insulin pumps. The most common method of injecting insulin is with a syringe. However, a doctor can help you decide which is the best method for you. All methods can be taught and, with practice, patients can learn to inject themselves at home and on the go.
Insulin must be injected subcutaneously, which is to say, injected into the fat layer just beneath the skin. This is so that the body does not absorb the sugar too quickly. It is also the less painful method of injecting (compared to an injection into a muscle).
Usually, to reduce irritation of the skin, doctors will suggest a rotation of injection sites. Injection sites include the abdomen, thigh, arm, and butt.
For most patients, the preferred injection site is the abdomen because insulin is absorbed the most quickly here. It is also the easiest place to reach when administering the injection yourself. Choose a spot between the bottom of your ribs and your pubic area, but avoid the 2-inch area encircling your navel. You should also avoid injecting around scars, skin blemishes, moles, broken blood vessels, or varicose veins. This is because these spots may interfere with the way your body absorbs the insulin.
If injecting into the thigh, inject into the top and outer areas of the thigh. The spot should be about 4 inches down from the top of the leg but 4 inches up from the knee.
When injecting into the arm, inject into the fatty area on the back of the arm, between the shoulder and elbow.
You can try numbing the area with an ice cube to make the injection more comfortable. Also try waiting for the alcohol to dry before injecting, as this will control the sting.
Your doctor can walk you through the proper steps for injecting insulin and give you some more tips on ways to make it more comfortable.
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