If your body no longer makes enough insulin, you’ll need
to take it. Insulin is used for all types of diabetes. Your
doctor can help you decide which way of taking insulin is
best for you.
Taking injections. You’ll give yourself shots using a
needle and syringe. The syringe is a hollow tube with
a plunger. You will put your dose of insulin into the
tube. Some people use an insulin pen, which looks
like a pen but has a needle for its point.
Using an insulin pump. An insulin pump is a small
machine about the size of a cell phone, worn outside
of your body on a belt or in a pocket or pouch. The
pump connects to a small plastic tube and a very
small needle. The needle is inserted under the skin
and stays in for several days. Insulin is pumped from
the machine through the tube into your body.
Using an insulin jet injector. The jet injector, which
looks like a large pen, sends a fine spray of insulin
through the skin with high-pressure air instead of a
Using an insulin infuser. A small tube is inserted
just beneath the skin and remains in place for several
days. Insulin is injected into the end of the tube
instead of through the skin.
What does insulin do?
Insulin helps keep blood glucose levels on target by
moving glucose from the blood into your body’s cells.
Your cells then use glucose for energy. In people who
don’t have diabetes, the body makes the right amount
of insulin on its own. But when you have diabetes, you
and your doctor must decide how much insulin you need
throughout the day and night.
What are the possible side effects of insulin?
Possible side effects include:
low blood glucose
How and when should I take my insulin?
Your plan for taking insulin will depend on your daily
routine and your type of insulin. Some people with
diabetes who use insulin need to take it two, three, or
four times a day to reach their blood glucose targets.
Others can take a single shot. Your doctor or diabetes
educator will help you learn how and when to give
Types of Insulin
Each type of insulin works at a different speed. For
example, rapid-acting insulin starts to work right after
you take it. Long-acting insulin works for many hours.
Most people need two or more types of insulin to reach
their blood glucose targets.