What is insulin therapy?
Insulin therapy is an essential treatment for individuals with type 1 diabetes and some with type 2 diabetes in Singapore. Insulin is a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels in the body. In people with diabetes, the body either does not produce enough insulin or cannot use it effectively, leading to high blood sugar levels.
What are the types of insulin?
There are several types of insulin that can be used, each with its own characteristics and properties.
Rapid-acting insulin. This type of insulin starts working within 15 minutes of injection and lasts for about 3-5 hours. It is typically taken before meals to control the blood sugar spike after eating.
Short-acting insulin. This type of insulin starts working within 30 minutes of injection and lasts for about 5-8 hours. It is also taken before meals to control the blood sugar spike after eating.
Intermediate-acting insulin. This type of insulin takes longer to start working, usually about 2-4 hours after injection, but lasts for about 12-16 hours. It is typically taken twice a day to maintain a steady level of insulin in the body.
Long-acting insulin. This type of insulin takes several hours to start working, but lasts for up to 24 hours. It is typically taken once a day to provide a steady baseline level of insulin in the body.
Combination insulin. This type of insulin combines a rapid-acting or short-acting insulin with an intermediate-acting or long-acting insulin. It is typically taken twice a day to control blood sugar levels throughout the day and night.
The type of insulin prescribed will depend on the individual’s blood sugar levels, lifestyle, and other medical conditions. It is important to follow the prescribed dosage and timing of insulin injections to avoid complications and achieve optimal blood sugar control.
How is insulin administered?
Insulin is administered through injections or insulin pumps. The injection site can be varied to prevent lipodystrophy, a condition where there is a loss of subcutaneous fat at the injection site.
How do I calculate the dosage for insulin?
Dosage Calculation The dosage of insulin is calculated based on individual needs, taking into account factors such as blood glucose levels, carbohydrate intake, physical activity, and other medical conditions. It is important to work closely with a healthcare provider to determine the appropriate insulin dosage.
Adherence to insulin therapy is crucial for effective diabetes management. Skipping doses or not taking insulin as prescribed can lead to high blood sugar levels, which can cause long-term complications.
Are there any side effects?
While insulin is generally safe and effective, there are some potential side effects that patients should be aware of. These include:
Hypoglycemia. Low blood sugar is the most common side effect of insulin therapy. This can happen if too much insulin is taken, if meals are skipped or delayed, or if exercise levels change. Symptoms of hypoglycemia include shakiness, sweating, confusion, and rapid heartbeat. Severe hypoglycemia can be life-threatening and requires immediate treatment.
Weight gain. Insulin therapy can cause weight gain in some people. This is because insulin helps the body store glucose as fat, which can lead to increased appetite and weight gain.
Injection site reactions. Injecting insulin can sometimes cause redness, swelling, or itching at the injection site. These reactions are usually mild and go away on their own, but patients can talk to their healthcare provider about ways to reduce them.
Allergic reactions. Some people may be allergic to the ingredients in insulin. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include hives, itching, and difficulty breathing. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek medical attention immediately.
Lipodystrophy. Over time, repeated insulin injections can cause changes in the fat under the skin at the injection site. This can lead to lumps or indentations in the skin, which is called lipodystrophy.
It is important for patients to discuss any concerns or potential side effects with their healthcare provider to ensure safe and effective management of their diabetes with insulin therapy.