Insulin Injections: Breaking Down The Barrier
If insulin injections are part of your daily life, you know how essential they are to managing your diabetes and preventing complications.
You also know that following your injection schedule is crucial. If your body doesn’t get enough insulin over the long term, you risk developing serious problems with your eyes, heart, nerves and kidneys. Getting too much insulin could lead to hypoglycemia—extreme cases of which can cause diabetic coma.
Despite all this, according to a study conducted in the US, over half of people with insulin-dependent diabetes have deliberately skipped injections at some point. Around 20% do it occasionally or frequently.
This trend is especially pronounced among people who need to take several doses of insulin daily or who find the treatment inconvenient (interferes with their activities, makes them feel embarrassed, etc.).
What about you? Have you ever skipped a dose of insulin because you weren’t comfortable taking it in public? Have you ever put yourself at risk of hypoglycemia by taking your injection too early, for example before going somewhere?
It’s a fact that injections can be hard to integrate into an active lifestyle. And yes, sometimes, people around you will not be aware of the importance of diabetes treatment. But never forget that your injections are medically required. You can’t make compromises when it comes to your health, even if a stranger might give you a funny look. That person won’t have to live with the consequences of a missed injection—but you will.
Communication, as always, plays a key role in the process. Teach those around you about the disease. In public places, mention that you have diabetes and be ready to answer questions. Above all, remember that injections, when performed subtly, rarely attract attention. You can also use an insulin pen, since it’s more discreet than a syringe.
There is still work to do to educate the public about diabetes. But you already have enough on your plate without having to stress out about your injections. Make peace with your treatment. There is absolutely no shame in taking control of your health, no matter where you are.
American Diabetes Association, “Skipping Insulin Injections – What are the Risk Factors?”: http://www.diabetes.org/newsroom/press-releases/2010/skipping-insulin-injections.html. Accessed January 12, 2015.
Diabetes.co.uk, “Missing Insulin Injections”: http://www.diabetes.co.uk/insulin/missing-insulin-injection.html. Accessed January 12, 2015.
Diabetes Québec, “L’injection d’insuline en public”: http://www.diabete.qc.ca/fr/vivre-avec-le-diabete/soins-et-traitements/medicaments-et-insuline/linjection-dinsuline-en-public. Accessed January 12, 2015.
MediResource, “Medication Management”: http://bodyandhealth.canada.com/channel_health_features_details.asp?health_feature_id=48&article_id=1434&channel_id=0&relation_id=0&article_rating=3É. Accessed January 12, 2015.
National Institutes of Health, “Correlates of Insulin Injection Omission”: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2809256/. Accessed January 12, 2015.
National Institutes of Health, “Insulin Detemir (rDNA Origin) Injection”: https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a606012.html. Accessed January 12, 2015.