Are Your Injection Sites the Cause of Your High Numbers?
Have you ever had your blood sugar run a little wonky, but you just can’t pinpoint why? You’ve been counting your carbs and dosing correctly, but the numbers are trending up. It may not be your food or medicine but rather where you are injecting that is the cause. If you have gotten use to using the same location to delivery your insulin you may want to think about switching it up. Injecting in the same place could cause lipohypertrophy, a build-up of fatty tissue under the skin that becomes hard lumps. These lumps could cause insulin to absorb at a slower rate resulting in elevated blood sugars.
It is recommended that you rotate your injection or infusion site to avoid tissue damage and possible poor absorption of insulin. Preferred areas are the abdomen, upper arms, outer thighs, hips, and upper buttocks. Each area has a different rate of absorption with the abdomen being the fastest. The arms, thighs, and buttock follow respectively. Exercising an arm or leg after an injection could help with faster absorption. You should rotate within a region for each injection and rotate to a different region every week or two to avoid fatty build and blood sugar variations. Pump sites should be rotated every three days. It might be a good idea to keep a log
of your injection sites.
Some tips to keep in mind is to not inject too close to the belly button as that tissue is denser and insulin absorption may not consistent. A good rule is to stay at least two inches (or two fingers width) away from the belly button. You should also avoid injections close to moles and scars for that same reason. When using the arm use the fatty area in the back of the arm because it is easier to pinch. The inner thigh can be painful so injecting on the top and outer area might be easier. To reduce pain, choose a needle gauge and length that is best for you.
Carrie Claiborne, Medical Coordinator