Diabetes is a progressive disease and
will often include insulin therapy at some point. Starting on insulin is not a
sign of failure but simply a change in medications to help control blood glucose.
New research has come out that can make taking insulin and other
injectable medications just a little easier.
Know your needle length
Whether you take insulin with a syringe or an insulin pen using a pen needle,
it is important for you to know what needle length you are using. You may
actually have a longer needle than you need. In the past, it was thought that
people who were overweight needed a longer needle to get the insulin where it
should go. But insulin is meant to go into fat tissue. So, longer needles can
cause the injection to go into the muscle, which both makes the insulin not as
effective and hurts more. Research has shown that skin thickness does not vary
much regardless of gender or weight status. What this means is that shorter
needles are actually recommended for everyone. Currently there are five needle
lengths: 12.7 mm, 8 mm, 6 mm, 5 mm, 4 mm. Recommendations now are to use a 4 mm
or 5 mm needle length. When using the shorter length needles, no pinch of the
skin is needed. If using a longer needle, a pinch may still be needed to avoid
an intramuscular injection. Another
benefit of a shorter needle length is that the gauge or needle thickness may
While most injections are not painful, here are a few more tips to keep the
pain at bay:
Inject room temperature insulin. Once insulin
is opened it can be stored at room temperature up to 28 days (depending on the
type of insulin). Store unopened insulin in the refrigerator.
If using alcohol to clean your skin, inject
only after the alcohol has fully dried.
Use a new needle for each injection. Needles
get dull with reuse.
If you are using longer needle lengths, talk with your doctor about a change in
your prescription to a shorter needle (4 mm or 5 mm). Insulin is a good, and
for many people necessary, diabetes medication. Know how to make it best work