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    When One Insulin Shot Isn't Enough

    By Camille Peri
    WebMD Feature

    If you have diabetes and your doctor says you need more than one insulin shot a day, you may worry about how that will affect your daily routine. But there are things that can help it go smoothly.

    Know the Basics of Insulin

    When you're giving yourself multiple insulin shots a day, you need to know about the different types of insulin. Your doctor may want you to combine different types to control your blood sugar around the clock.

    There are four types, and they're based on how fast they work, how long they work, and when they peak:

    • Rapid-acting
    • Short-acting
    • Intermediate-acting
    • Long-acting

    Your doctor will let you know when, how often, and where to give yourself a shot. This will be based on:

    • Your routine
    • The kind of insulin you’re taking
    • The results of home blood sugar tests

    It’ll probably take some trial and error to work out the right schedule and dosage for you.

    There are other ways to get insulin besides a needle and syringe. Insulin pen injectors are easier to carry, but costly. You may decide to keep some on hand just for when you are away from home.

    An insulin pump is a small machine that you wear. It pumps insulin into your body continuously, so you don't need to inject it. It’s a safe and valuable treatment option for those with poorly controlled blood sugar despite multiple daily insulin injections.

    A rapid-acting inhaled insulin is also FDA-approved for use before meals only in adults with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. It must be used in combination with long-acting insulin if you have type 1 diabetes.

    Test Your Blood Sugar Often

    Many things can affect your blood sugar, such as:

    • Changes in your diet
    • Stress
    • Illness
    • Exercise
    • Other medications that you may be taking

    Insulin can also cause low blood sugar.

    "Anyone who takes insulin needs to monitor their glucose [sugar] levels," says Robert E. Ratner, MD, chief scientific and medical officer for the American Diabetes Association. "The only way to know when to adjust your insulin is to know when it's lacking or excessive."

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