Frequently asked questions
Where should I inject insulin using a pen?
- Always inject insulin subcutaneously (in the fatty tissue that lies over the muscle). The insulin is best absorbed from here and has a longer effect.
- If you inject too frequently in the same site, hard lumps or knots develop and the insulin will no longer be absorbed properly.
- Short-acting types of insulin should be injected in the abdominal area (at least 3 cm away from the navel).
- Injecting long-acting insulin into the upper thigh (but at least the width of your hand above the knee) slows down the duration of action compared to injecting it into the abdominal area.
- Avoid injecting into the upper arm and the calves because of the risk of hitting muscle.
How can I inject insulin correctly using a pen?
- When injecting it is advisable to make a fold of skin. Experience has shown that it is easier to inject into the subcutaneous fatty tissue this way. Without a skin fold, people often inject too deeply and hit the muscle tissue.
- When making a skin fold, you can inject at an angle (45 degrees) as well as vertically (90 degrees), choosing a needle length that matches the thickness of the skin. Please discuss the details of this with your diabetes team.
- If you do not want to pinch a fold of skin, do not insert the needle vertically but rather at an angle of about 45 degrees. The needle should be short or medium length at the most (6 to 8 mm or 10 mm).
- If you inject at an angle, the angle should be at least 45 degrees. If you inject at an angle that is less than this, the insulin will only reach the dermis. A weal or bruising may possibly form at the injection site.
Count up to 10 after inserting and injecting the insulin before removing the needle.
How can I determine the appropriate needle length?
Choosing the correct pen needle is primarily a matter of deciding on the appropriate length of the cannula. The thickness of your skin (or your body mass index) and the correct injection technique (angled or vertical injection) are important factors to take into account. The body mass index (BMI) is a measure of your weight with respect to your height.
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