Methods for Insulin Delivery

As an essential hormone in the body, insulin is secreted to control the levels of sugar in the blood. When insulin is not produced in the body, a condition known as diabetes occurs. People who have diabetes used to have to inject themselves with insulin. Now, there are several methods for delivery of insulin that give diabetics options.

Which Insulin Delivery System is Best?

Insulin has peak times and a duration to consider. Peak time refers to the time when insulin becomes most effective in lowering blood sugar. Duration refers to how long the insulin will remain in your system after it is administered, continuing to do its job. For instance, a rapid acting form of insulin can take affect quickly, but may also last for another hour or two in the system. That is why the peak and duration is important when prescribing the type of insulin and the delivery system.

Injecting Insulin

This is the method most often used. It requires taking a certain dosage of insulin several times a day via a syringe and needle. The insulin is injected in the fat tissue of the body. Within the fat tissue, the insulin is more rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream.

Your doctor will discuss with you how to give yourself an insulin injection. It may be slow going at first but you will get the hang of it. You won’t be left on your own to learn. Your doctor and health care team will help you learn the technique and guide you through the injection for as long as it takes. Here are a few reminders:

  1. Get all of your supplies together first so you can sit down, relax, and steel your nerves when it’s time.
  2. Wash your hands before handling insulin and any needles.
  3. Use sterile products. Wipe the top of your insulin bottle with an alcohol swab to clean it. Open a new syringe.
  4. Shake the bottle before using. Insulin can settle out of solution in the fridge. Draw up the prescribed amount of units.
  5. Use another alcohol swab to clean the injection site (shoulder, thigh). Pinch the skin between thumb and forefinger with one hand and inject at a 90 degree angle with the other hand. Push the needle in to the hub and push down on the plunger.
  6. Obtain a ” sharps container” to store all of your used needles for later disposal.

Insulin Pump

Another method of delivery for Type 1 diabetics is the insulin pump. Your doctor may decide that an insulin pump will work for you. A small pump is attached to a catheter inserted in the skin, usually the abdomen. It delivers short-acting insulin throughout the day. The insulin pump makes it easier for diabetics to administer their insulin while going about their daily activities with more freedom.

There is a learning curve though. There are numbers to punch in and schedules to follow. All this will be covered in detail with your doctor. For activities like swimming, bathing, and running, you can disconnect the pump from the catheter for greater ease of motion. Again, your health care team will guide you through every step, and stick with you until you are comfortable with this method.

Insulin Spray

This is one of the newest ways that insulin is delivered. An insulin spray is mostly used for people with Type 2 diabetes. The spray works like an inhaler you might see an asthma patient use. It’s important that patients have sufficient lung capacity to deliver the insulin effectively into the body. In other words, smokers need not apply.

Taking insulin for diabetes doesn’t necessarily have to require a needle and syringe these days. There are now alternatives. Talk to your doctor about the choices available to control your diabetes.

More health articles about: Health EducationTags: