Insulin Injection

What is insulin injection?

Insulin injection is a form of treatment in which insulin is injected into the body to help control blood sugar levels in diabetes patients.

How it works

Insulin is a hormone produced by pancreatic cells. It is what allows blood glucose (sugar) to enter the cells and to keep blood glucose levels within normal limits.

If you have diabetes, your glucose levels will continue to rise after you eat because there is not enough insulin to move the glucose into your body cells.

Insulin administration helps prevent diabetes complications by keeping your blood sugar within a desired range.

Left untreated, high blood glucose levels can eventually lead to complications such as blindness, nerve damage, kidney damage, heart attacks or strokes.

Types of insulin

There are several types of insulin. They differ in:

  • How quickly they start to lower your blood glucose
  • Time taken to reach their highest activity
  • How long they continue to work
Type of insulin preparation How it works
Rapid-acting * Ideal for preventing blood sugar spikes after you eat
* Works much faster, within 15 minutes
Long-acting * Helps the body use glucose released by your liver and keeps glucose levels from rising too high so the body continually has energy
* Takes a longer time to take effect, between 1 – 3 hours
* Works for a longer period of time, 18 hours or beyond

Why do you need insulin injection?

In type 1 diabetes, the body makes little or no insulin, due to the destruction of the pancreatic cells responsible for insulin secretion. Type 1 diabetes patients need multiple daily injections of insulin into the body to survive.

In type 2 diabetes, the body has resistance to insulin and requires more insulin than usual, and the pancreas is not able to produce enough insulin to combat this resistance. Type 2 diabetes patients may also need insulin, especially if the duration of diabetes is long.

What are the risks and complications of insulin injection?

Insulin should be prescribed by a doctor and dose adjustments should be supervised.

Taking insulin may also result in some side effects, such as:

  • Low blood sugar
  • Initial weight gain
  • Lumpy or scarred tissue from too many injections on the same part of the body
  • Rashes on the injection site or, in rare cases, all over the body

As the exact dose of insulin needed is different for everyone, your doctor will need to calculate the dose you require.

Too much insulin

In the event of an insulin overdose, blood sugar concentrations can become too low. This can lead to a coma and even death.

To raise blood glucose levels, orange juice, table sugar or any other pure form of sugar is usually given. If the patient is in a coma, glucose is injected into the blood stream.

Insufficient insulin

If the insulin dose is insufficient, the diabetes will not be controlled and in poorly controlled cases, this can lead also to severe consequences, such as a coma.

A test of the blood glucose levels is needed to tell the difference between the 2 types of comas. A low blood glucose level means the patient has received an overdose of insulin. If the levels are high, it means they have not received enough insulin. Either case should be treated as an emergency in the hospital.

Why choose Mount Elizabeth Hospitals?

Conveniently located in the heart of Singapore's city district, Mount Elizabeth Hospitals are trusted medical institutions in the region.

Our endocrine specialists are respected in their clinical field for their expertise and knowledge in the treatment of diabetes and other endocrine disorders.

Patients receiving insulin administration are provided quality care and support by our multidisciplinary medical team of nurses and other consultants.

Our endocrinologists

Our endocrine specialists at Mount Elizabeth are experienced in treating a wide range endocrine health disorders, such as diabetes, cholesterol, thyroid or other hormonal conditions.

This page has been reviewed by our medical content reviewers.

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