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Home > Wellness Resources > Health Library > Diabetes: Giving Yourself an Insulin Shot
If you have
type 1 diabetes—or if you have
type 2 diabetes and other diabetes medicines are not
controlling your blood sugar—you have to take
insulin. If you have
you may need to take insulin if diet and exercise have not been able to keep
your blood sugar levels within your target range.
With little or
no insulin, sugar (glucose) in the blood cannot enter your cells to be used for
energy. As a result, the sugar in your blood rises above a safe level. When
your blood sugar rises past about 180 mg/dL, your kidneys begin to release
sugar into the urine, which can make you
dehydrated. If you are dehydrated, your kidneys make
less urine, which means your body can't get rid of extra sugar. This is when
blood sugar levels rise.
Taking insulin can prevent the symptoms of high blood sugar and emergencies
diabetic ketoacidosis (in type 1 diabetes) and
hyperosmolar coma (in type 2 diabetes). Insulin also
can help lower blood sugar, which can prevent serious and permanent complications from long-term high blood
The three most important elements of success in giving insulin injections
health professional or certified diabetes educator (CDE) will help you learn to prepare and give your insulin dose.
Here are some simple steps to help you learn this task.
To get ready to give an insulin
injection, follow these steps.
Your preparation will depend
on whether you are giving one type of insulin or mixing two types of
When you are mixing types of insulin to be given in one syringe, follow these precautions.
If you are using an insulin pen, follow the manufacturer's instructions for attaching the needle, priming the pen, and setting the dose.
If you have poor eyesight, have problems using your
hands, or cannot prepare a dose of insulin, you may need someone to prepare
your insulin injections ahead of time.
Before giving your
Follow the steps for giving
an insulin injection in the belly. It's also possible to give a shot in the arm.
Follow the steps for giving an insulin injection into the belly with a reusable insulin pen.
After giving your injection,
be sure to:
Other Works Consulted
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2007). Guideline for isolation precautions: Preventing transmission of infectious agents in healthcare settings 2007. Available online: http://www.cdc.gov/hicpac/2007IP/2007isolationPrecautions.html.
August 13, 2013
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Rhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator
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