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How is insulin injected to treat diabetes?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

Most people use needles to inject insulin. Most types of needles are coated to minimize pain while injecting. Insulin pens have fine, short needles that inject insulin from prefilled cartridges by pushing a plunger. Insulin jet injectors use high-pressure air rather than needles to inject the insulin.

An insulin pump, worn outside the body, has tubing that delivers the insulin to a catheter (a small tube) under the skin of the abdomen. The pump is programmed to deliver a steady supply of insulin, and can deliver extra insulin after meals or when blood glucose is high. The pump provides maximum control of blood glucose, which is known to reduce the rate of diabetes complications.

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To treat diabetes, insulin is injected into the fatty tissue layer under the skin on the abdomen using either a syringe or insulin pen and a small needle.

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