Your sugar spikes? You're having lunch? You're about to have a fruit? All those actions and many others require insulin injections if you're on an insulin treatment.
Insulin and other injectable diabetes medications are meant to be injected into the fat layer just under the skin. A subcutaneous injection is administered as a bolus into the subcutis, the layer of skin directly below the dermis and epidermis, collectively referred to as the cutis.
Popular injection sites include (check out the image below):
- The outer area of the upper arm.
- The abdomen, from the rib margin to the iliac crest and avoiding a 2-inch circle around the navel. This has the fastest rate of absorption among the sites.
- The front of the thigh, midway to the outer side, 4 inches below the top of the thigh to 4 inches above the knee. This has a slower rate of absorption than the upper arm.
- The upper back.
- The upper area of the buttock, just behind the hip bone. This has the slowest rate of absorption among the sites.
Modern insulin medications are well absorbed and act about the same regardless of where they are injected. However, for best results it is important to stick with a consistent body part for your injections in order to avoid variations in insulin action. Ultimately, the choice is up to you.
Better living with insulin injections:
Select a body part that is easily accessible, visible and reachable. Be sure to use a number of different spots within that body part. This action of rotating between body parts is called “rotating” injection sites. The reason to do this is because injecting into the same body part in the same spot too often can cause skin problems and can weaken/damage insulin absorption. Below is an illustration on how you can rotate your insulin shots. If each day you would select one of the "x" marks, then you will be hitting that spot every 38 days.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Regardless of which body part and rotation pattern you choose, avoid spots on your skin that have scar tissue, moles, swelling/inflammation, or unusual changes in appearance or texture.
Is there a trick for remembering to take my injections?
Missed injections (or taking injections much too late) can cause serious blood sugar control problems. Research has shown that missing just one insulin injection per week can raise your A1c by more than 0.5%! Here are some techniques for helping you to remember to take your injections: �
- Attitude is important, so take your diabetes seriously! �
- Write down your injection doses after taking them �
- Use The Spike App to receive reminders and alerts about insulin without any setup required.
- Take your injection at the same time that you perform another daily ritual, such as taking oral medication or brushing your teeth �
- Keep your injection materials in a strategic location so that you notice them at the right times
- If you take insulin at mealtimes, take it before eating (with your doctor’s approval).
Insulin injections are a burden undoubtably, but they are a must as well. It can get tiresome to manage them but things are moving towards a better future. Injections are becoming less awkward, less painful, less of a hassle and more effective.
Check out The Spike App, that can remind you of your insulin without even having to program it. Here is a video of it in action: