How to Inject Insulin Correctly

Lori Berard, RN, CDE, Diabetes Educator, discusses how to inject insulin correctly.

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Lori Berard, RN, CDE, Diabetes Educator, discusses how to inject insulin correctly.
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Featuring Lori Berard, RN, CDE (Certified Diabetes Educator)

Duration: 2 minutes, 15 seconds

So I think we do a really good job in teaching people with diabetes initially how to inject their medications - insulin or other injectable medications, but we forget to check how they're doing 5 years, 10 years, 20 years down the road.

So what's really important is that you're rotating your sites on a regular basis, that you're sure that you're hitting subcutaneous tissue and not muscle, that the needle length that you're using is not too long for you, and that you're trying to use a new needle with every injection.

We've learned an awful lot in the last few years about how poor injection technique actually affects blood glucose control so we can stop blaming the insulin inside of the insulin pen. And we really need to start thinking about are you using a healthy site, are you injecting correctly, are you holding the needle in properly.

If you're having trouble controlling your diabetes and nothing seems to have changed that's a really good time to ask your healthcare professional if you're injecting your insulin properly, because sometimes your control will change because you're injecting into an area that is not good, such as you're going too deep and hitting muscle or you've been using a site that's overused so you're injecting into a fatty area. Not very painful when you inject there but insulin's not absorbed properly.

Some of the things that you can think about to make sure is to check the area yourself. If you feel lumps and bumps it's likely that there's buildup of fatty scar tissue under your skin. Also you want to think about whether you can actually inject into the fat under the layer of the skin and that your needle isn't too long that you could actually be hitting muscle.

If you're injecting into an area where there's not a lot of fatty tissue you may need to lift the skin gently to be able to ensure that you're injecting into the fatty layer under the skin or angle your needle, that's another tip to make sure you're hitting that layer as well.

If you're concerned about whether or not you're injecting your medication for diabetes properly you should visit your diabetes health team. For some people that could be their primary care provider such as their family doctor or a nurse practitioner.

You may have a diabetes educator that you see on a regular basis, you may chat with your pharmacist, you may see a dietitian, but basically the most important thing to do is to ask the questions so that they can help you to understand whether or not you're injecting correctly.

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Presenter: Lori Berard, Nurse, Winnipeg, MB

Local Practitioners: Nurse

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.