Taking Your Insulin
Many people are nervous about giving themselves injections. That’s a natural way to feel. That’s why it’s important to learn about the many ways to give yourself injections.
Prescription pens (also called prefilled pens)
A prefilled pen looks like a writing pen. Pen needles are often shorter and thinner than those used on many syringes. The dosing dial helps you take the right amount of medicine. Many people who inject themselves with a syringe find the prefilled pens a good option.
Unlike a vial and syringe, prefilled pens have a clearly marked and readable dosing dial that helps you set the right amount of insulin to take.
A Syringe Filled From a Vial of Insulin
This is one way to inject insulin. A syringe is a hollow tube with a plunger on one end and a needle on the other. You stick the needle into a vial of insulin and draw up your dose.
Some people with diabetes choose to switch from injecting insulin to using an insulin pump. Here are some facts about insulin pumps:
- Insulin pumps are small computerized pumps. They are about the size of a cell phone. Some are worn on your belt or pocket
- They deliver a steady, measured amount of fast-acting insulin through a small plastic tube. The tube has a small needle that is placed just under the skin, in an area such as the abdomen, and is taped in place
- On your command, the pump releases a bolus (a surge) of insulin. This is usually done just before eating to counter the rise in after-meal blood sugar
- New pumps have many features. Some insulin pumps may measure blood sugar levels by continuous monitoring. Some can be linked to a wireless meter
- The amount of insulin delivered by the pump needs to be determined by the user. Some pumps may help you decide how much insulin you need
- Pumps deliver a very precise amount of insulin for different times of day
The pump can release a very small amount of insulin continuously. You still need to check your blood sugar level to adjust the amount of insulin you get. To use a pump, you must be willing to check your blood sugar more often, as directed by your diabetes care team. You then use buttons on the pump to program it to deliver the amount of insulin you need. You also need to learn how to adjust your insulin, food, and physical activity in response to those results.
An insulin pump will not cure diabetes. You will need to learn how to use it. So make sure to check the instructions that come with your pump. Insulin pumps can cause health problems if the tube comes out and the flow of insulin stops for a while.
Talk with your diabetes care team about which injection device is right for you. Voice any concerns you have. Remember – your diabetes care team is there to help and support you.