Insulin is crucial to everyone, but especially for people with diabetes.
When taken correctly and with your doctor’s guidance and instructions, it will help people with diabetes stay healthy. At times, and when not taken correctly, insulin can lead to some side effects. Today we’ll be breaking down those side effects and tips to make sure that you don’t run into them.
But first, let’s talk about the role of insulin for people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
Insulin for Type 1 Diabetes
For type 1 diabetes, the immune system is constantly destroying the beta cells in the body. These beta cells help to produce insulin, but every day the immune system is attacking them.
Therefore, a person with type 1 diabetes must take insulin every day—whether through an insulin pump or injections.
Insulin for Type 2 Diabetes
With type 2 diabetes, a person’s body will struggle to produce healthy beta cells. Or they may struggle with insulin resistance. This makes it hard for the body to maintain normal blood sugar levels.
Because many people with type 2 diabetes are struggling to produce healthy beta cells which help to produce insulin, they need to find alternate ways to give their body insulin. Injections via a syringe or pen are oftentimes the best way to do that.
Common Side Effects of Insulin
Here are some side effects that may come about from inaccurate doses or improper injection practices of insulin:
Low Blood Sugar – Too much insulin can actually lead to low blood sugar, otherwise known as hypoglycemia. Symptoms/side effects of hypoglycemia include feeling shaky, confusion, hunger, nausea, color draining, feeling weak or sleepy, sweating, and chills.
Burning – Some long-acting insulins have higher acidity levels, and therefore can cause a burning sensation after the injection. If you experience this issue often, speak with your doctor. One way to prevent burning is by placing an ice pack on the area before injecting.
Scar-Tissue – Scar-tissue can build-up if you don’t rotate your injection area consistently. This is crucial, as this scar-tissue can get in the way of your body’s ability to absorb the insulin properly. This can then lead to high blood sugar levels.
Bruising and site irritation – Bruising and irritation in the injection area can also occur. Once again, the solution is to consistently change up the site of the injection.
Infection – Infections can sometimes occur due to mycobacterium chelonae. To avoid this, make sure to only use syringes once. Using an alcohol swab on the area of injection can also help prevent infections.
Weight Gain – Weight gain can occur through the use of insulin. To combat this, make sure to exercise regularly and make sure you’re eating a nutritious diet. A dietician or doctor can also offer solutions for avoiding weight gain while using insulin.
Tips For Avoiding These Side Effects
Always Consult With Your Doctor About Taking Insulin
If you experience any of these side effects of taking insulin—especially rashes and allergic reactions—speak with your doctor about the issues. They have the knowledge and expertise to assist you in finding a solution that best limits these side effects.
Be Extra Careful With Your Dosage
This should probably go without saying, but because some of these side effects can be caused by injecting too much insulin, always double-check to make sure that your insulin dosage is correct. If you are consistently having symptoms of hypoglycemia, consult with your doctor.
Use a Diabetes Management Solution to Keep Tabs on Your Blood Sugar Levels
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- Check your blood sugar levels easily from anywhere
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