What are the different ways insulin can be delivered to a person’s body if they have diabetes?

When a patient has diabetes, whether it be the later stages of Type II or Type I, and they're at a place where they need insulin, they can receive it through a vial, a pen, or a device that will administer it for them.

The patient can receive their insulin in a vial where they can use an insulin needle to administer it themselves by drawing it up from the vial. They can obtain it in an insulin pen where it's prefilled with insulin, and you use a dial to determine how much they want, and then deliver it to themselves, or they can use an insulin pump, which is also prefilled with a larger amount of insulin. It stays attached to their body, and they only stick themselves once over a period of several days, and it continuously can give them insulin. 

There are two main ways to take insulin to help treat your diabetes, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

One way is to use an insulin pump. This way, a needle is used to put a small catheter through the skin into a fatty layer of the midsection, according to HHS.

The amount of insulin is set to what you need, then the pump gives you insulin through the day and night, according to HHS. Or, you can use the pump to deliver insulin on demand around mealtime.

The other method is to take insulin shots. HHS states there are two types of shots:

  • a “pen” that is pre-filled with insulin lets you click to choose the amount you need to inject
  • a syringe with which you measure the amount you need to inject

There is also a type of inhaled insulin available, but there is not yet enough research to be sure it is effective, according to Premier Physician Network physicians.

Talk to your doctor for more information about the different ways of taking insulin when you have diabetes.

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