Common Problems Associated with Insulin: Hypoglycemia:
Excessive lowering of blood glucose is called as Hypoglycemia.
This is one of the most frequent problems faced by patients taking insulin. This can occur due to the following reasons: 1. Taking higher dose of insulin than is required.
2. Missing or delaying meals.
3. Exercising or working more than usual.
4. An infection or illness (especially with diarrhoea or vomiting).
A change in the body's need for insulin consumption of alcoholic beverages.
The symptoms of mild to moderate hypoglycemia may include sweating, dizziness, palpitation, tremors, hunger, restlessness, tingling in the hands, feet, lip or tongue, lightheadedness, inability to concentrate, headache, drowsiness, sleep disturbance, anxiety, blurred vision, slurred speech, depressive mood, abnormal behavior, unsteady movements, personality changes.
Signs and symptoms of severe hypoglycemia can include disorientation, seizures, unconsciousness, death.
Mild to moderate hypoglycemia may be treated by consuming food or drinks that contain sugar. Patients should always carry a quick source of sugar, such as sugar candies or glucose tablets. More severe hypoglycemia may require the assistance of another person and/or hospitalisation. If the patient has frequent episodes of hypoglycemia or experience difficulty in recognizing the symptoms, consult the doctor to discuss possible changes in therapy, meal plans and/or exercise program to help avoid hypoglycemia.
Hyperglycemia and Diabetic Acidosis:
Hyperglycemia or high glucose levels in the blood may develop if the body has too little insulin.
Hyperglycemia can be brought about by: Omitting insulin or taking less than the doctor has prescribed.
Eating significantly more than the meal plan suggests.
Developing a fever or infection:
In patients with type 1 diabetes, prolonged hyperglycemia can result in diabetic acidosis usually come on gradually, over a period of hours or days and include a drowsy feeling, flushed face, thirst, loss of appetite and breath smelling of fruity odor. Urine tests would show large amounts of glucose and acetone. Heavy breathing and a rapid pulse are more severe symptoms. If uncorrected, prolonged hyperglycemia or diabetic acidosis can result in loss of consciousness or death. Therefore, it is important to obtain medical assistance immediately.
Administration of insulin subcutaneously may result in lipotrophy (depression in the skin) or lipohypertrophy (enlargement or thickening of tissue). If the patient notices either of these conditions, consult the doctor. A change in the injection technique may help alleviate the problem.
Allergy to insulin:
Local Allergy: Patients occasionally experience redness, swelling and itching at the site of injection of insulin. If the patient has local reactions contact the doctor.
Systemic Allergy: Less common, but potentially more serious is generalized allergy to insulin which may cause rash over the whole body, shortness of breath, wheezing, reduction in blood pressure, fast pulse or sweating. Severe case of generalized allergy may be life threatening. If the patient thinks of having a generalized allergic reaction to insulin, seek medical help immediately.