Questions About Insulin for and from Your Doctor
People with type 1 diabetes may need up to three or four injections daily. Those with type 2 diabetes may need just one shot of insulin a day, possibly increasing to three or four injections.
Find out how many times a day you'll need to inject, and how much insulin to inject in each dose. If you're using an insulin pump, ask your doctor when you'll need to give yourself an extra injection (bolus).
When should I take my insulin?
How often you take insulin depends on several factors, including:
- The type of insulin you use (fast-acting, premixed, etc.)
- How much and what type of food you eat
- How much exercise you get
- Other health conditions you have
- The type of insulin delivery system you use
Your doctor may want you to take insulin a half-hour before meals, so it's available when sugar from food enters your bloodstream. Find out exactly when during the day you need to take each of your injections, and what to do if you forget to give yourself an injection.
Where should I inject the insulin?
There are some factors to consider when deciding where to inject. Most people select the abdomen since it’s an easily accessible region. Your insulin shot will work fastest if you inject it into the stomach (be sure to stay at least 2 inches from the belly button). But you can also inject insulin into your arms, thighs, or buttocks. Ask your doctor or diabetes educator to show you the right way to inject, including how to keep your needle and skin clean to prevent infections. Also learn how to rotate the injection site so you don't develop hard, fatty deposits under the skin from repeated injections.
How will insulin interact with other medicines I'm taking?
Low blood sugars caused by insulin can be intensified by some medications. Tell your doctor all of the medicines you're taking -- even drugs you bought without a prescription.
What can I eat while taking insulin?
Ask your doctor for dietary recommendations to help your insulin work most effectively. Find out how much food to eat at each meal, which types of foods are best for you to eat, whether you need to have snacks, and at what times to eat. If you drink alcohol, ask your doctor whether you can continue to drink while taking insulin, and if so, how much alcohol is safe to drink.