World Diabetes Day: Understanding importance of safe insulin injection technique

Based on this year’s theme, ‘The Nurse and Diabetes’, it becomes even more important to raise awareness around the crucial role that nurses play in treating people living with diabetes

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New Delhi: India with an estimated 77 million people living with diabetes is the second most affected country in the world after China. According to the International Diabetes Federation, one in six people in the world with diabetes is from India. The number is projected to grow to become 134 million by 2045. This statistic clearly shows that diabetes has become a major health issue in the country, and it is extremely important to raise awareness regarding its proper management.
Every year, the 14th of November is commemorated as World Diabetes Day. Based on this year’s theme, ‘The Nurse and Diabetes’, it becomes even more important to raise awareness around the crucial role that nurses play in treating people living with diabetes.
In people with type 1 diabetes insulin is the mainstay of treatment. However, people with type 2 who are not well controlled on oral drug therapy, diet and exercise may also need insulin injections to control their blood glucose levels and prevent long-term complications from cardiovascular disease, stroke, peripheral vascular disease, kidney disease etc.
For optimal insulin absorption, insulin needs to be injected into the fat layer under the skin to avoid the muscle. It is also important to use a new site each time for every injection and to change the needle with every use.
“Reuse of needles and incorrect injection technique can lead to complications and medication errors. Needle re-use causes blunting and bending of the needle tip, increasing pain and bleeding, dosage inaccuracy, and Lipohypertrophy. Regular monitoring and proper management of diabetes can help avoid serious health problems in the long and short term. Hence, it is imperative to adopt right insulin injection technique to manage one’s diabetes and lead a healthy life”, said Dr. Subramanian Kannan, Consultant and Head of Department of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, Narayana Health City Bangalore.
One of the most effective ways to manage diabetes is by investing in training programmes for healthcare professionals. They should be aware of the right techniques and safe practices of handling insulin injection. Deploying effective education and training on safe and correct utilization of insulin injections to the nursing staff can significantly improve patient outcomes.
“We work with a dedicated team of clinicians and diabetes educators who train patients on various aspects of injection technique right from the first visit itself. Our team spends time with the patient making them confident to independently take their injections, follow correct injection site rotation, prevent re-use and the awareness and prevention of Lipohypertrophy. Looking at the larger benefit of optimizing insulin administration for better glycemic control, we must discourage the re-use of insulin needles.” said Dr. Ameya Joshi, Consultant endocrinologist, Endocrinology Department Bhakti Vedanta Hospital and Research Institute, Mumbai and Institute of Diabetes Endocrinology And Nutrition (INDEAN) clinic, Mumbai
Adherence to proper medication is essential to determine treatment outcomes for patients. In India, this is particularly true in the management of NCD’s such as diabetes. Insulin injections are life-saving medical intervention for proper handling of diabetes. An honest commitment and understanding of accurate technique by healthcare professionals and patients will certainly ensure effective diabetes management.