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Insulin Therapy

By Catherine Murphy, RN

(Page 2 of 2)

When you are ready to give an injection it is important to select the right location for the shot. There are a wide variety of site on your body that you can use including your abdomen, thighs, buttocks, and upper arms. Some of these sites will get the insulin into your body faster than others, and this can affect your blood sugar. That is why it is important to talk with your doctor about which are the best sites for you to use. How fast your body absorbs the insulin is important because it helps to reliably predict the effect of each dose of insulin. It is best to keep a consistent site for each time of day and the type of insulin you are using. Here is a breakdown of the common sites and how the absorption time is for each site.

  • Thighs – Slow absorption

  • Upper Arms – Medium absorption

  • Abdomen – Fast absorption

  • Buttocks – Slow absorption

It is a good idea to rotate the sites where you are injecting insulin. Rotating helps prevent the skin from toughening and affecting absorption. It is best to have a set plan for rotating the sites. You may find it easiest to always use only the abdomen and rotate sites within the area of the abdomen. If you think of the area of your abdomen as a clock, you could rotate from 1 o’clock to 11 o’clock, starting farthest out from the navel and moving progressively closer in toward the navel. If you want to include arms and thighs in the rotation, you should be sure to inject in the same area at the same time each day. For example, take your morning injection in the abdomen, your afternoon injection in the thigh or arm, and your evening injection in the buttocks. When rotating injection sites on a limb or the abdomen, make the first injection within the appropriate area and then separate subsequent injection sites by about a finger's width.

Always be sure to discuss any plan of care with your doctor, or health care manager. When you work together, you will be able to formulate a plan of care that works best for your individual needs.


Resources: Research for this article was complied through resources at the Joslin Diabetic Center in Boston, Mass. and the American Diabetic Association

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