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Home > Patients & Visitors > Health Library > Diabetes: Giving Yourself an Insulin Shot
Insulin is used for people who have
type 1 diabetes. It's also used if you have
type 2 diabetes and other medicines are not
controlling your blood sugar. If you have
you may need to take insulin if diet and exercise have not helped to keep
your blood sugar levels within your target range.
With little or
no insulin, sugar (glucose) in the blood can't enter your cells to be used for
energy. This causes the sugar in your blood to rise to a level that's not safe. When
your blood sugar rises past about 180 mg/dL, your kidneys start to release
sugar into the urine. This can make you
dehydrated. If that happens, 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 symptoms of high blood sugar. It can also help to prevent emergencies
diabetic ketoacidosis (in type 1 diabetes) and
hyperosmolar coma (in type 2 diabetes). Insulin can help lower blood sugar too. This can prevent serious and permanent health problems from long-term high blood
Remember these key tips for giving insulin shots:
health professional or certified diabetes educator (CDE) will help you learn to prepare and give your insulin dose.
Here are some simple steps that can help.
To get ready to give an insulin
shot, follow these steps.
How you prepare will depend
on whether you are giving one type of insulin or mixing two types.
When you mix 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.
You may need someone to prepare
your insulin injections ahead of time. Get help if you have poor eyesight, have problems using your
hands, or can't prepare a dose of insulin.
Before giving your
Follow the steps for giving
an insulin shot in the belly. It's also possible to give a shot in the arm.
Follow the steps for giving an insulin shot into the belly with a reusable insulin pen.
After giving your shot,
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.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Current as ofMay 23, 2016
Current as of:
May 23, 2016
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
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