Insulin is an important hormone produced by your pancreas and it is responsible for allowing glucose to enter your muscle and fat cells. People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin to control their blood sugar. Many people with type 2 diabetes can manage their disease with diet, physical activity, and medicine(s), but over time, people with type 2 diabetes may need insulin.
If you need to take insulin, your doctor will determine the best insulin for your situation. There are many types of insulin. There is short acting insulin, long acting insulin, rapid acting insulin, and intermediate acting insulin.
Premixed insulin is also available for people who are uncomfortable mixing medications into a single syringe, or who have poor eyesight. Premixed insulin also works well for diabetics who have stability with one specific preparation that will not need to change frequently.
There are many ways to take insulin. Self-injecting with an insulin needle and syringe is the most common way. There are other devices on the market that work as well. The insulin pen is another way to give insulin. The insulin pen does not eliminate the needle, however its unique design makes it easier for some to measure the amount of insulin they are taking.
There is also a device called "jet injection". This device is for those people who cannot handle the idea of sticking themselves with a needle. The device is considerably more expensive then the insulin pen and the traditional needle and syringe. The insulin pump is another option for people who cannot get their sugars under control using the other devices mentioned. The insulin pump cost several thousands of dollars and delivers gradual amounts of rapid acting insulin directly into the bloodstream.
Insulin Strengths and Commonalities
All insulin distributed in the United States comes as 100 units per milliliter, ( u100) and all insulin syringes are u100 syringes. This standardization has made self-injection of insulin a lot less confusing. Insulin may be stored at room temperature for up to 4 weeks. It can also be stored in the refrigerator until it's printed expiration date.
Insulin should be stored so it is protected from direct sunlight exposure or excessive cold temperatures. If your doctor prescribes less than 50 units, there are ½ cc syringes that make it easier to draw up to 50 units. If you take less than 30 units there are 3/10 syringes available. Used needles and syringes must be disposed in a plastic, puncture-proof container.