July 25, 2019: For how long can I use a vial of insulin?

The expiration date on insulin packaging is for unopened, refrigerated vials, disposable pens, or pen cartridges. Once opened, most vials of insulin last for 28 days, even if refrigerated, but many pens and pen cartridges are good for only 7, 10, or 14 days (and should not be refrigerated).

Learn more about insulin here.

July 20, 2019: How should I count fiber when determining how much insulin I need to cover a meal or snack?

Since fiber is not digested or absorbed, you should subtract the grams of fiber from the total carbohydrate on the label if there are more than 5 grams of fiber per serving. People who are very sensitive to insulin may wish to subtract all fiber, even if there are fewer than 5 grams per serving.

Learn more about counting fiber here.

July 15, 2019: What factors should I consider when taking insulin to bring down a high blood glucose level?

Be careful when taking extra insulin to “cover” for high blood glucose. Take into account any insulin that is still active from your previous dose, as well as any variability in the effect of the “correction” insulin based on the time of day or other factors.

Learn more about insulin here.

July 11, 2019: Should I skip insulin injections on days I don’t feel well?

Unless otherwise directed, don’t skip insulin or oral medicines when you’re sick, even if you’re eating less than usual. The stress of an illness may actually increase your insulin needs temporarily.

Learn more about handling sick days here.

July 8, 2019: How long can I use an open vial of insulin?

Never use an open vial for more than a month, and always check the expiration date on your insulin before using it.

Learn more about insulin here.

July 6, 2019: What’s the best way to determine when to take a mealtime dose of insulin?

Both your premeal blood glucose level and the glycemic index of the foods you are planning to eat should be taken into consideration when deciding when to take a mealtime insulin dose.

Learn more about insulin here.

April 17, 2019: My insulin requirements have changed since I became pregnant. Why might this be?

The normal hormone production and weight gain that occur during pregnancy increase insulin resistance, causing a woman’s insulin needs to change during this time.

Learn more about pregnancy and diabetes here.

April 14, 2019: Should you adjust your insulin dose when you exercise?

Maybe. If you take insulin and regularly need to eat before or during exercise to prevent or treat low blood sugar, speak to your doctor or diabetes educator about lowering your insulin doses on days you exercise.

Learn more about exercising with insulin here.

March 15, 2019: If you use an insulin pen, what step must you take before each injection?

It is important to prime an insulin pen — also known as doing an “air shot” — to make sure that insulin is flowing properly and that there is no air in the cartridge or needle.

Learn more about insulin delivery devices here.

March 14, 2019: I’m afraid of needles. How can I use insulin?

For people who have trouble injecting insulin or who are afraid of needles, various injection aid devices exist that hide the needle or assist with inserting it into the skin. Before purchasing an injection aid, make sure that it is compatible with the type of syringe you use.

Learn more about insulin here.

March 13, 2019: What are some signs that you need to use a different needle with your insulin syringe or pen?

Insulin leakage at the injection site or worsening blood glucose control may indicate that a syringe or insulin pen with a longer needle is needed.

Learn more about insulin delivery devices here.

March 8, 2019: For how long is rapid-acting insulin active in the body?

Rapid-acting insulin can lower blood glucose for as long as five hours, although it varies from person to person. If you plan on taking another dose within five hours of your last one, reduce it somewhat to lower the risk of hypoglycemia.

Learn more about insulin here.

March 7, 2019: My meal or snack doesn’t contain many carbs. Do I still need to take insulin?

Take rapid-acting insulin with any amount of carbohydrate over 10 grams, including snacks.

Learn more about insulin here.

March 6, 2019: How should you time your insulin dose for a drawn-out meal?

If you plan to eat a long, drawn-out meal, consider taking half of your mealtime insulin at the beginning of the meal and the other half an hour or two later.

Learn more about insulin here.

March 5, 2019: How much insulin should you take if you don’t know how much carbohydrate you’re going to eat?

If you don’t know how much carbohydrate you will consume in a meal, consider splitting your rapid-acting insulin dose. Take enough insulin at the beginning of the meal to cover the amount of carbohydrate you know you will eat, then take more insulin as soon as you know you’ll eat more than that.

Learn more about insulin here.

March 2, 2019: What factors can affect how quickly insulin is absorbed?

When taking insulin, the thickness of fat under the skin at the injection site, exercising before or after an injection, and air temperature can all affect how quickly insulin is absorbed.

Learn more about insulin here.

March 1, 2019: You’re about to eat a meal. When should you take your rapid-acting insulin?

If you take rapid-acting insulin with meals, try taking it 5, 10, and 15 minutes before eating on different occasions to determine which timing is best for you to control your postmeal blood glucose spike. Check your blood glucose level one, two, and three hours after your meal to gauge the effect.

Learn more about rapid-acting insulin here.

October 18, 2019: How can I calculate my insulin-to-carbohydrate ratio?

Your diabetes care team can help you determine your insulin-to-carbohydrate ratio, or how much insulin you need to take for a certain amount of carbohydrate, by looking at your food records and records of your premeal and postmeal blood glucose levels.

Learn more about insulin here.

December 24, 2019: Will my insulin regimen need to be adjusted while I’m pregnant?

Most likely — insulin adjustments are often necessary every 7 to 10 days during pregnancy.

Learn more about pregnancy and type 1 diabetes here.

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