Just a shot…I think not

So as all of you probably know by now those of us with T1D have to give ourselves insulin manually, this is done either through an injection or an infusion via pump. Today I’m going to explain the process that you have to go through to have an injection of insulin, that right there is more to it than drawl up an amount, stab and push in insulin.

This is the pen that I use to deliver the majority of my shots (I have another one with a different insulin but I only use it once a day).

Insulin pen

Before I tell you exactly how the pen works lets start at the beginning of the whole equation (trust me the whole thing turns into a giant equation!)

Blood test, that’s right, it all starts here. Depending on what your bloods are you may need to factor in a corrective dose to your insulin shot. How do you work this out? Well every T1D is different on this point so I will just explain what I do. I have what they call a correction factor, so for every 2 mmol/L of blood sugar that I want my bloods to come down I need to have 1unit of insulin. So right now lets say that I want my bloods to come down by 5mmol/L, I would need 2.5units of insulin.

Part one:check.

Next are you going to eat anything? For arguments sake we are 😉 for this part you have another calculation to run. It starts with how many carbohydrates have you eaten? (as a diabetic you are taught to carb count but I wont give you a lecture on that right now or your head might explode, the easy way is look up on your phone how many carbs are in your meal) So lets say we’ve eaten dinner and all up dinner contained 60g of carbs. Now we have to divide those carbs by what is called a carb ratio (every T1D’s ratio is different!) my ratio is 10:1 so for every 10g of carbs that I eat i need 1unit of insulin. 60g of carbs means I need 6units of insulin.

Part two:check.

Now it’s time to have your insulin, right? Wrong, now you have to factor in how much activity you are going to do after dinner. If you don’t do this you will either need to eat again to keep from going low or your will go low. If I’m going to do exercise I will generally have 10% less insulin. So lets say that I am going to do some exercise and we’ll factor that in in the next bit.

So we have 2.5units for a correction and 6units for our carbs, together that’s 8.5, but now we have to minus 10% for exercise that we are going to do (I generally round the numbers to the nearest .5 because my pen has increases of .5) so that brings us to a grand total of 7.5units of insulin.

Now for the easy part, having the shot. Simply dial up the required amount, choose the place you want to have it, put the needle in and press the insulin in. I then keep the needle in for a count of 10seconds because it can take the insulin a little bit longer to come out of the needle and start to be absorbed. If you don’t wait insulin will come out of your injection site and then you’ll go high because you haven’t had your full dose.

As you can see having a shot just isn’t that simple. Every time that I test my bloods or eat food I have to go through this process. At first it was really difficult and I needed lto write it down and use a calculator but now I can manage it all in my head. But if my bloods are too high this makes thinking harder so doing all of the above takes me a little while longer. Hopefully now you see that we T1D’s have to do a bit more than just have shots to keep alive, I just felt the need to let y’all know 😉 any questions about any of this y’all know where to put them 🙂

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