HomeInsulinWhat Is Insulin Used...

What Is Insulin Used For

Where Do I Inject My Insulin

What is an insulin pump?

Insulin needs to be injected into fatty tissue directly under the skin, not the muscle. Recommended sites include the abdomen, outer thigh, buttock, and the back of the upper arm. Choose from these areas and inject in a consistent rotation . Its important to not overuse any particular area of the skin. If you develop hard lumps under your skin where you are injecting, you should move to a different area. If you experience any changes in your skin, contact your doctor.

What Are The Side Effects Of Insulin

One of the most common side effects of insulin is hypoglycemia .

Symptoms include a headache, sweating, trembling, anxiety, confusion, irritability, rapid breathing, or a fast heartbeat. People with hypoglycemia may also faint and severe hypoglycemia that is left untreated may be fatal.

Hypoglycemia is relatively common because insulin requirements can vary depending on the food you eat, the exercise you do, and how well you are. Hyperglycemia from too low an insulin dose can also occasionally occur.

Other common side effects include:

  • swelling, itching, redness, or lumps around the injection site
  • electrolyte disturbances
  • blurred vision .

Insulin analogs are less likely to cause weight gain or low night-time blood sugar levels than standard human insulins.

Why Do Bodybuilders Use It

Anabolism, the metabolic process of building up, is essential to packing on muscle. Bodybuilders often try to maximize this process.

Considering that it promotes nutrient storage and helps prevent cell breakdown, insulin is considered an anabolic hormone.

This lends it well to bodybuilding, in which the central purpose is to build up muscle mass through strategic diet and exercise.

Recommended Reading: Life Expectancy For Type 2 Diabetes

How To Choose The Right Method For Injecting Insulin

Both syringes and insulin pens use a small needle to inject insulin into your body. There are pros and cons to each, and which one you ultimately end up with will depend on your lifestyle and your doctors advice.

Things to know about insulin syringes:

  • They come in a few different sizes.
  • Your doctor will tell you how much insulin you need per dose.
  • You will usually draw the insulin into the syringe when you need it.
  • Theyre not as discreet as an insulin pen.

Things to know about insulin pens:

  • Some pens use cartridges that are manually inserted into the pen.
  • Other pens are prefilled and thrown away after all the insulin is used.
  • Needles in pens are often smaller than those in syringes.
  • Not all types of insulin can be used with a pen.
  • Pens can be more expensive than syringes and are sometimes not covered by insurance.

How Much Insulin Should I Take For Low Blood Sugar

Insulin Injection Tips

Insulin will lower your blood sugar. If your blood sugar is already low, you shouldnt inject more insulin.

Signs that your blood sugar is too low include sweating, dizziness, blurred vision, and significant fatigue. If this happens, try to consume rapid-acting carbohydrates, like sugared sodas, fruit juice, or glucose tablets, to get your blood sugar levels back up quickly.

You May Like: How Many Units Of Insulin Is Normal

Putting It All Together

Now that you know the how and why behind insulin dosing, lets consider how you may calculate your insulin needs.

Youll usually give yourself an insulin dose around your meals since thats when you take in carbohydrates. You also will typically check your blood sugar to see if youre meeting your premeal target dose.

To calculate your insulin needs:

  • Check your blood sugar level before a meal.
  • If your blood sugar level is in your target range, you do not need to calculate for extra insulin.
  • If your blood sugar level is higher than your target range , calculate how much insulin youll need. You should talk with your doctor about this, but usually, 1 unit will bring your levels down by 50 points.
  • Calculate the number of carbohydrates youre about to eat. You can usually estimate these using carbohydrate counters.
  • For every 10 grams of carbohydrates, give yourself 1 unit of insulin. Ask your doctor if this number may be different for you.
  • Add the number of units needed to adjust for both your target range and meal.
  • Administer the total units of insulin.
  • You may find that if you generally eat about the same amount of carbohydrates each day, you may be able to consistently inject the same amounts of insulin outside of special occasions. It takes time to find out how your body best responds to insulin.

    Can I Have A Negative Reaction To Insulin

    One complication facing people with diabetes who use insulin is the potential for severe hypoglycemia, also known as insulin shock, which involves using too much insulin and causing your blood sugar to drop extremely low. This can cause coma, seizures, and heart attacks, says Dr. Powers. It requires treatment in a hospital but thankfully is highly treatable once you are there.

    Don’t Miss: Blood Glucose Test Strips Walmart

    Why Do I Need To Take Insulin

    All people who have type 1 diabetes and some people who have type 2 diabetes need to take insulin to help control their blood sugar levels. The goal of taking insulin is to keep your blood sugar level in a normal range as much as possible. Keeping blood sugar in check helps you stay healthy. Insulin cant be taken by mouth. It is usually taken by injection . It can also be taken using an insulin pen or an insulin pump.

    A Bump Or Dimple At Injection Site

    Insulin 1: What does insulin do, and why do we need it?

    Another potential side effect of using insulin is acquiring a small bump or dent at the injection site after repeated injections in the same spot. It usually occurs in the belly area and is also known as lipodystrophy .

    This is due to the effect insulin has on fat cells in this area, causing them to change shape slightly. It is not harmful.

    Insulin users may want to alternate injection sites to help prevent this effect.


    The use of insulin for off-label purposes comes with some serious risks, most notably hypoglycemia. Think critically about this if youre considering using insulin for bodybuilding.

    Before deciding to use insulin, its extremely important to weigh the pros and cons.

    Numerous bodybuilders have died from insulin abuse. Thus, proper education and guidance are key.

    Its also important to be aware of the legal ramifications in your country of using insulin for nonmedical purposes. In some countries, insulin is available for purchase over the counter, while other countries regulate its distribution tightly.

    In addition, many sporting federations consider insulin a banned substance unless its used for diabetes management.

    Also Check: Insulin Functions In The Body By

    Insulin For Type 2 Diabetes

    If you have type 2 diabetes and your doctor thinks insulin can help you, it doesnt mean you now have type 1 diabetes. You still have type 2 diabetes, but you’ve changed treatment.

    If you have type 2 diabetes, you may not need to use insulin straight away. But some people have very high blood sugar levels when they are first diagnosed. Insulin can be used as a short-term treatment to help quickly bring down your blood sugar levels.

    Some people may need to take insulin for a particular reason, like during pregnancy or a severe illness, or after surgery. But you may also need to start it as a treatment if other medications havent helped managed your blood sugar levels or are not appropriate for you.

    If you need insulin it isnt your fault and it doesnt mean you havent managed your diabetes well. It’s simply another medication that can help to keep you as healthy as possible. Managing blood sugars effectively is really important in reducing your risk of future diabetes complications and insulin may be the most appropriate treatment choice for you. Many people with type 2 diabetes need to use it as treatment at some point.

    Its still important to keep going to your appointments and manage your condition with healthy lifestyle choices. Staying active and eating a healthy diet will reduce the risk of complications from your diabetes.

    How Much Insulin To Take Per Carb

    The average person will take about 1 unit of insulin for every 12 to 15 grams of carbohydrates consumed.

    There is some variation to this, depending on how sensitive you are to insulin. For some people, this range is 1 unit for every 6 grams of carbohydrates, while for others, its 1 unit for every 30 grams of carbohydrates.

    Recommended Reading: How To Get Fasting Numbers Under 90 For Gestational Diabetes

    What Are The Types Of Insulin For Diabetes And How Do They Work

    Insulin is a hormone produced by certain cells in the pancreas called beta cells. Insulin helps the body use blood glucose for energy. When we eat and absorb food, glucose levels rise and insulin is released.

    Some people can’t make insulin those people have type 1 diabetes. A person with type 2 diabetes can make insulin, but the body doesn’t respond well to insulin they have “insulin resistance.”

    For what conditions is the diabetes medication insulin used?

    • Insulin medication is always necessary for type 1 diabetes because the body has no internal source of insulin.
    • People with type 2 diabetes may also need insulin, particularly those who have difficulty controlling their diabetes with oral medications.

    How Should I Store My Insulin


    Like food, insulin doesnt have a forever shelf life. Its recommended that you store any insulin youre not using in the fridge.

    However, injecting cold insulin may make the injection feel more painful. Because of this, a best practice is to keep the bottle of insulin youre currently using in a safe place, away from direct heat and sunlight. Insulin kept at room temperature can last about a month.

    Do not store insulin in the freezer, and always check the expiration date before using it.

    Side effects from injecting or receiving insulin are rare, but can occur in certain cases. The symptoms of mild allergic reactions are swelling, itching, or redness around the injection area. More severe insulin allergies may include nausea and vomiting.

    In either case, talk with your doctor if you notice any of these signs.

    Hypoglycemia, or blood glucose levels that are too low, can sometimes occur when you take insulin.

    Its important to balance the insulin that you give yourself with food or calories. If you exercise longer or harder than usual or dont eat the right amount of calories or carbs, your glucose level can drop too low and trigger low blood sugar. Symptoms of low blood sugar include:

    Recommended Reading: Thin Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms

    What Are Warnings And Precautions The Diabetes Insulin

    Warnings and precautions for the diabetes drug insulin are the following.

    • Insulin should not be used if low blood sugar is present.
    • Any adjustment of insulin, whether to a different brand, type, strength, or method of administration, must be made under medical supervision.
    • Injury, illness, surgery, pregnancy, and changes in activity level can affect blood sugar levels, which might require an adjustment in insulin dose.
    • Patients should inform medical providers of previous medical history before using insulin, especially adrenal/pituitary gland problems, infections, kidney or liver disease, thyroid issues, and nerve problems such as tingling or numbness.
    • Patients should advise medical providers if they are pregnant.
    • Alcohol can increase the risk of developing low blood sugar.
    • Children and the elderly may be more sensitive to insulin.
    • Discard open vials of insulin after 28 days.
    • Do not use insulin after its expiration date.

    What Oral Medicines Treat Type 2 Diabetes

    You may need to take medicines to manage your type 2 diabetes, in addition to consuming healthy foods and beverages and being physically active. You can take many diabetes medicines by mouth. These medicines are called oral medicines.

    Most people with type 2 diabetes start with metformin pills. Metformin also comes as a liquid. Metformin helps your liver make less glucose and helps your body use insulin better. This drug may help you lose a small amount of weight.

    Other oral medicines act in different ways to lower blood glucose levels. Combining two or three kinds of diabetes medicines can lower blood glucose levels better than taking just one medicine.

    Read about different kinds of diabetes medicines from the FDA.

    Don’t Miss: Pen Needle Sizes For Insulin

    How Do You Take Insulin Without A Syringe

    There are several options:

    • Insulin pens look like large writing pens and can help prevent under- and overdosing. They also dont require refrigeration, are conveniently prefilled, and are more durable than syringes.

    • Insulin pumps are attached to a thin tube thats implanted under your skin. Pumps are computerized or motorized, and some models also act as glucose monitors. They deliver insulin before each meal along with small amounts through the course of the day. In the US, about 60% of people with diabetes use some form of .

    • Jet injection devices are a good option if you hate needles. A jet injector holds several doses of insulin. After placing it against your skin, you press a button, and the insulin is pushed through.

    • Inhaled insulin comes in a pre-measured inhaler and was first approved in 2014. Its short-acting and usually not covered by insurance, which makes it more cost prohibitive than other types of insulin for most people with diabetes.

    Unless you have an insulin pump that also works as a glucose monitor, insulin dosing is based on self-monitoring your blood glucose levels. You can check them by doing finger pricks or wearing a device that continuously monitors them for you.

    Are There Differences Among 5 Types Of Insulin Chart

    What Is Insulin? Dr. Berg

    Many people with diabetes may use different types of insulin to get the optimal effect on their blood sugar levels. Here are 5 types of insulin for diabetes.

  • Rapid-acting insulin starts working in less than 15 minutes, peak in an hour, and continue working for another two to four hours.
  • Regular, also known as short-acting insulin, takes about 30 minutes to reach the bloodstream. Its peak effect is in about two to three hours, and its effect lingers for three to six hours.
  • Intermediate-acting insulin reaches the bloodstream in two to four hours, peaks in four to 12 hours, and works for up to 18 hours.
  • Long-acting insulin takes six to 10 hours to start working, but it lasts for 20-24 hours.
  • Premixed insulin can be a convenient option for some people.
  • Chart of 5 different types of injectable insulin with details onset , peak , duration , and role in blood sugar management .

    The 5 different types of injectable insulin with details onset, peak, duration, and role in blood sugar management chart.

    Type of Insulin & Brand Names Onset

    Also Check: Sugar-free Recipes For Diabetics

    What Are Alternative Medications For People With Diabetes That Arent Insulin

    Non-insulin medications that may be prescribed to people with diabetes include:

    • Metformin a pill that stops sugar production in the liver

    • Glitazones pills that remove sugar from the bloodstream

    • Sulfonylureas and glinides pills that increase the release of insulin from your pancreas

    • Starch blockers pills that slow starch absorption

    • Incretin therapies and amvlin analogs pills and injections that reduce sugar production in the liver and slow food absorption. Types of the former include DPP4 inhibitors and GLP1 analogs .

    • SGLT2 inhibitors pills that are taken before meals that prevent the reabsorption of glucose

    Can You Overdose On An Insulin Injection

    Yes, you can overdose on regular insulin. Call 911 or seek immediate help if you think youve overdosed. An insulin overdose can lead to:

    • Severe hypoglycemia .
    • Tuberculosis medications.
    • Vitamins or herbal supplements.

    This isnt a complete list of the medications and supplements that can interact with regular insulin. Talk to your provider before starting a new medication.

    You May Like: Bedtime Blood Sugar Goal For Non Diabetic

    How Often Should Blood Glucose Be Checked When Taking Insulin

    Just as insulin dosing is a highly individual thing, so are recommendations for frequency of blood glucose testing at home.

    • Doctors may advise testing first thing when you wake up before your first meal, before meals, or after meals.
    • Diabetic people with a history of good relatively stable blood glucose levels might get by with less frequent testing.

    Another way doctors monitor glucose control is by checking A1c. The A1c test gives information on the average blood glucose control over the past two to three months.

    May Support Muscle Growth

    What is insulin sensitivity and resistance?

    While insulin is best known for its role in controlling blood sugar, it has a few other notable effects that make it desirable for bodybuilders.

    One such effect is its ability to help with muscle protein synthesis, the process through which the body builds muscle.

    A 2006 study in 19 healthy young adults concluded that, when people received intermediate doses of insulin, they had a boost in muscle protein synthesis and a decrease in muscle protein breakdown .

    In addition, a 2016 review suggests that insulin has a permissive role in the muscle-building process, as long as you eat enough protein .

    This means insulin allows muscle building to take place, even though it doesnt seem to directly promote it.

    Its important to note that sufficient amino acids, the building blocks of protein, must be present in order to promote muscle gains in the presence of insulin .

    Don’t Miss: What Can Diabetic Dogs Eat

    Making The Switch To Insulin

    Making the transition is much easier than it used to be because most patients are started on a long-acting insulin that does not need to be matched with food intake.

    Insulin pens that are preloaded are replacing insulin that needs to be drawn up into a syringe. Patients may still be worried about giving themselves injections, but because the needle is so tiny the adjustment is often quick.

    Toujeo and Lantus are long-acting forms of insulin that are available in a prefilled injectable pen.

    There’s also a type of rapid-acting insulin, Afrezza, that can be inhaled through the mouth via an inhaler.

    And a new class of medication called sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitors is also available now, according to Mazhari. “It works via a different pathway that’s not pancreas-dependent, offering another medical therapy option for patients with type 2 diabetes.”

    The key to an easy transition to insulin is education.

    “Patients need to know how to take their insulin properly since there are many formulations on the market, including short- and long-acting insulin and premixed,” Mazhari said. “Most can be started on a long-acting insulin once a day, though for some patients short-acting or mealtime insulin may be necessary as well. Insulin doses need to be further adjusted depending on blood sugar readings.”

    - A word from our sponsors -

    Most Popular

    More from Author

    - A word from our sponsors -

    Read Now

    Normal Blood Sugar Level During Pregnancy

    See A Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Blood Sugar Levels During Pregnancy If you dont already see a dietitian, you should start seeing one before you get pregnant. Your dietitian can...

    Does White Vinegar Lower Blood Sugar

    Does Apple Cider Vinegar Lower Blood Sugar Doctor talks about "Does Vinegar help lower Blood Sugar Spikes for People with Diabetes?" Can swallowing ACV really help you lower your...

    Glucose Test For Pregnancy Fasting

    When Should I Measure My Blood Glucose Fasting and Blood Glucose | Jason Fung Throughout the rest of your pregnancy, you will need to measure your blood glucose levels...

    How Much Insulin Do I Need

    How Do I Calculate How Much Insulin To Take Using Sliding Scale to Determine Insulin Dose In people who do not have diabetes, their bodies release insulin in response...

    Diabetes Drug For Weight Loss Semaglutide

    No Quick Fixes For Obesity Diabetes Drug Ozempic Trends On TikTok As Weight-Loss Drug According to Dr. Kabbara, Being overweight or obese puts us at a greater risk to...

    Names Of Short Acting Insulin

    Factors That Speed Insulin Absorption Short Acting Insulin Mnemonic for NCLEX | Nursing Pharmacology Variation in insulin absorption can cause changes in blood glucose levels. Insulin absorption is increased...

    Is Type One Diabetes Curable

    Eating A Healthy Balanced Diet How There Could Finally Be A Cure For Diabetes What you eat can make a difference to how you feel and how you manage...

    What Is Insulin Made Out Of

    What Is The Cost Of Insulin With Insurance Inside The Factory Where Most Of The Worlds Insulin Is Made The American Diabetes Association Insulin Access and Affordability Working Group...

    Normal Blood Sugar Range For Type 2 Diabetes

    What Causes Low Blood Sugar Blood Sugar Levels Chart | Includes fasting and after eating Low blood sugar has many causes, including missing a meal, taking too much insulin,...

    How To Make Your Own Insulin

    What Does The System Do Why Diabetics Are Making Homemade Insulin When you build the system, all of which is free to download with instructions available online, you will...

    Insulin/dextrose For Hyperkalemia Protocol

    Severity & Risk Stratification Treating Hyperkalemia - Avoid Additional Harm When Using Insulin and Dextrose The first step of treatment requires determining whether hyperkalemia is life-threatening . No evidence-based...

    How To Lower Blood Glucose Quickly

    General Tips On How To Keep You Blood Sugar Levels In Control How to Lower Blood Sugar Fast You should eat foods that...