Monday, April 11, 2016

I is for Insulin

Types of Insulin for People with Diabetes

  • Rapid-acting:  Usually taken before a meal to cover the blood glucose elevation from eating.  This type of insulin is used with longer-acting insulin.
  • Short-acting:  Usually taken about 30 minutes before a meal to cover the blood glucose elevation from eating.  This type of insulin is used with longer-acting insulin.
  • Intermediate-acting:  Covers the blood glucose elevations when rapid-acting insulins stop working. This type of insulin is often combined with rapid- or short-acting insulin and is usually taken twice a day.
  • Long-acting:  This type of insulin is often combined, when needed, with rapid- or short-acting insulin.  It lowers blood glucose levels when rapid-acting insulins stop working.  It is taken once or twice a day.

A Guide on Insulin Types for People with Diabetes

TypeBrand NameOnset
(length of time before
insulin reaches bloodstream)
(time period when
insulin is most effective)
Duration(how long insulin
works for)
10 - 30 minutes

30 minutes - 3 hours3 - 5 hours
Short-actingRegular (R)30 minutes - 1 hour2 - 5 hoursUp to 12 hours
NPH (N)1.5 - 4 hours4 - 12 hoursUp to 24 hours
0.8 - 4 hoursMinimal peakUp to 24 hours

Tips for Injecting Insulin

  • Stomach:  Stay at least two inches away from the bellybutton, or any scars you may already have when using the abdomen for injections.
  • Thigh: Inject at least 4 inches, or about one hand’s width above the knee, and at least 4 inches down from the top of the leg. The best area on the leg is the top and outer area of the thigh. Do not inject insulin into your inner thigh, because of the number of blood vessels and nerves in this area.
  • Arm: Inject into fatty tissue in the back of the arm, between the shoulder and the elbow. 
  • Buttock: Inject into the hip or “wallet area,” and not into the lower buttock area.
  • When rotating sites within one injection area, keep injections about an inch (or
    two finger widths) apart. 
  • Do not inject into scar tissue, or areas with broken vessels,or varicose veins. Scar tissue may interfere with absorption. 
  • Massage or exercise that occurs immediately after the injection, may speed up absorption because of the increased circulation to the injection site. If you plan on strenuous physical activity shortly after injecting insulin, don’t inject in an area affected by the exercise. For example, if you plan to play tennis, don’t inject into your racquet arm. If you plan to jog or run, don’t inject into your thighs.
  • When injecting with an insulin pen, inject straight in, and be sure to hold the pen in place for a few seconds after the insulin is delivered, to ensure that no insulin leaks out.


  1. We don't have diabetes, but I recently had to inject my husband as he started out on blood thinners due to blood clots in his lungs. The shots ended and now 1/2 a pill. I feel for you having to do this so often to keep balanced. Lv Hazel

  2. It must be very hard having to do this all the time.

  3. This must be so hard to do. I have an aunt (my mother's sister) who is diabetic and she has to do this every day.

  4. I use to have to have client's that had to do this and I could see it in there eyes that it was painful for them. It's hard to do I tryed to help them out as much as I could but I wasn't allowed to give them there inslslin but if they needed a hand to hold or something while doing it I was there for them. It's a hard thing to go through. Hope you have a great evening.

  5. While i know it is lifesaving since they discovered it, i do wish no one had to go through a regimen of insulin shots each day.

  6. I've never really understood how insulin works. For some reason, I can't get my head around it.

    Liz A. from
    Laws of Gravity

  7. Very interesting. David has an insulin pump. Although he still has highs and lows, he has far more control with the pump than he ever did with the injections. The pump uses Novalog, which he says is the same thing as Humalog, just a different manufacturer.

    Have a blessed night!

  8. I could not imagine having to inject insulin all the time.

  9. My daughter used an insulin pump for a long time and will probably go back to it in the near future. She loved the convenience and the much better control it afforded. Being a diabetic is a complicated thing, it becomes a way of life but not an easy one for sure. HUGS
    Josie Two Shoes
    from Josie's Journal

  10. Our dog was diabetic after prednisone was given to treat his cancer. We had to do insulin shots twice a day for four years. He was on Novalog. We knew the necessity of giving the shots, but it was something I never "enjoyed" doing. Thankfully he was a good "sport" about it (probably because he got a little treat afterwards)