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  4. Who can take Insulin? How to store, when to take it, precautions, side effects and more

Who can take Insulin? How to store, when to take it, precautions, side effects and more

Insulin is a crucial medication for those with diabetes and can greatly improve their quality of life when prescribed and monitored properly by a healthcare team.

Written By: Kristina Das @https://twitter.com/KristinaDas2 New Delhi Updated on: April 24, 2024 11:31 IST
Insulin
Image Source : FREEPIK Know what is Insulin, how to store it, when to take it, precautions, side effects and more.

Insulin is a naturally occurring hormone your pancreas makes that’s essential for allowing your body to use sugar (glucose) for energy. If your pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin or your body doesn’t use insulin properly, it leads to high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia). This results in diabetes.

Insulin moves glucose from your blood into cells all over your body. Glucose comes from both the food and drinks you consume and your body’s natural release of stored glucose (glycogen). Glucose is your body’s main — and preferred — source of energy.

According to Dr Ranga Santhosh Kumar, Consultant General Physician & Diabetologist, all of your body’s cells need energy. Think of insulin as the key that opens the doors of the cells in your body. Once insulin opens your cell doors, glucose can leave your bloodstream and move into your cells where you use it for energy.

Who can take Insulin?

When we spoke to Dr Pawan Kumar Goyal, Senior consultant of internal medicine, at Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, he said that it is primarily used to treat individuals with diabetes, a chronic condition in which the body is unable to produce or use insulin effectively. Therefore, anyone diagnosed with diabetes, whether it be type 1 or type 2, can benefit from taking insulin. This includes people of all ages, genders, and ethnicities. However, it is important to note that insulin therapy may not be suitable for pregnant women or individuals with certain medical conditions such as kidney disease or heart failure. In these cases, alternative treatments may be recommended by a healthcare professional.

However, the doctor also explained that people who become very sick and remain admitted to the hospital also need insulin during the time of hospitalisation. Nowadays, diabetic patients are opting for insulin pens which come with a cartridge and people can easily inject the insulin at home. 

Lifestyle changes that can help manage type 2 diabetes are:

  • Eating a nutrient-dense diet rich in fruits and vegetables
  • Maintaining a moderate weight
  • Staying physically active

How and where to take Insulin?

You can inject several areas of your body with insulin. In general, the areas where you typically have body fat (adipose tissue) are the best sites. These include:

Your belly — at least 2 inches (5 centimetres) away from your belly button.

The front or side of your thighs.
The back of your upper arms.
Your upper buttocks.

It’s important to mix up where you inject insulin to prevent skin complications.

How can you store Insulin?

Like food, insulin doesn’t have a forever shelf life. It’s recommended that you store any insulin you’re not using in the fridge.

However, injecting cold insulin may make the injection feel more painful. Because of this, a best practice is to keep the bottle of insulin you’re currently using in a safe place, away from direct heat and sunlight. Insulin kept at room temperature can last about a month.

Do not store insulin in the freezer, and always check the expiration date before using it.

What are the side effects of taking Insulin?
 
Side effects from injecting or receiving insulin are rare but can occur in certain cases. The symptoms of mild allergic reactions are swelling, itching, or redness around the injection area. More severe insulin allergies may include nausea and vomiting.

In either case, talk with your doctor if you notice any of these signs.

Hypoglycemia, or blood glucose levels that are too low, can sometimes occur when you take insulin.

People living with type 1 diabetes must use insulin to help control their blood sugar, but those living with type 2 diabetes may be able to use oral medications to help manage their blood sugar instead of injections.

Oral medication is typically prescribed along with lifestyle changes, such as increased activity, weight loss (if applicable), and diet changes.

Medications for type 2 diabetes are designed to lower blood glucose levels, but they may not work for everyone.

ALSO READ: Balanced Diet to Adequate Sleep: 5 simple tips to manage pre-diabetic conditions

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