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How to cope with adverse reactions of insulin?

Insulin isn’t omnipotent, of which improper usage may not only cause undesirable reactions, but also put diabetics in great trouble.

item Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) reaction

Hypoglycemia reaction is the most common adverse reaction of insulin, which is usually caused by too large of dosage, incorrect proportion in premixed insulin and inadequate shaking before using premixed insulin.

Symptoms: palpitations, hunger, anxiety, tension, pale complexion, rapid heartbeat, cold sweat and tremor of hand or foot. Brain symptoms: unable to concentrate, slower mind and speaking speed, dizziness, blurred vision, anxiety, unstable gait, and some diabetics may even have psychiatric symptoms such as manic, irritability, hallucination and uncommon expressions, if the levels of blood sugar continue to decrease, there may be confusion, muscle fibrillation, and eventually resulted in coma, convulsions etc.

Coping measures: Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) reaction most often occurs when the effect of insulin peaks: about 2 hours after injection and normally in the daytime for common insulin, and 14 hours after injection and often in the nighttime for long-acting insulin. Therefore, families with diabetics that need to inject insulin should pay more attention to find about hypoglycemia reaction and feed the diabetics with sugar drink, sugar loaf or food with high carbonhydrate content when it happens, whereas for diabetics with severe reactions, families should contact the doctor immediately, who should firstly inject high concentration glucose through the vena or inject glucagon through muscle.

item Somogyi Phenomenon

This phenomenon is also called high blood sugar after low blood sugar, which refers to the patient’s having high blood sugar due to strengthened glucagon effect resulted from low blood sugar.

Coping measures: firstly, check the diabetics’ blood sugar at 3 o’clock in the morning to make sure if the blood sugar is low or not. If it is, reduce the dosage of insulin for the injection before dinner or before going to bed in order to avoid mistakes in the adjustment of insulin dosage.

item Insulin-generated edema

One of the side effects of insulin is the water-sodium retention, which leads to the possibility of edema.
Symptoms: mild edema of lower limbs or anasarca.
Coping measures: provide the diabetics with low-salt food and limit the input of water when the edema is severe. Pay attention to protect the skin of the patient, avoid any scratch or scuffing. Edema generated by injection of insulin might last 4-6 days or even longer, but could usually recover without any artificial intervention. If the edema doesn’t go away, using diuretics such as D.C.T or furosemide to help.

item Ametropia, blurred vision

This kind of condition is mostly seen in young diabetics whose blood sugar fluctuates greatly, and the reason still lies at the plunge of blood sugar, which leads to the falling of refractive index, and thus making the diabetics hypermetropic. Usually, this kind of phenomenon is temporary and will disappear itself.

item Allergic reaction

Symptoms: acanthesthesia, tickle and pyrexia in the injection spot, usually with partial swell, scleroma and purpura after injection. individual patient might suffer collapse, acute lung edema or even anaphylactic shock.

Coping measures: no artificial measures are necessary for diabetics with light symptoms. Otherwise we could use antihistamine medicine (such as cetirizine, astemizol, etc.) as treatment, or replace the insulin preparations with peroral hypoglycemic drugs. Be careful to keep the skin around clean and dry, and without scratch, in order to prevent infection.

item Local reaction

Symptoms: diabetics should watch out the atrophy and hyperplasia of subcutaneous fat, as well as erythema and scleroma under the skin at the insulin injection site.
Coping measures: better to use higher purity insulin, use different injectors by turn, change the injection site: avoids the repeated insulin injection in the same site within one week, or through measures such as hot compress and massage to help recover from scleroma.

item Gaining weight

Usually in the beginning stage of using insulin, many diabetics will gain much weight, which might be the result of the adverse reaction of insulin (such as the retention of water and sodium), and the controlling of blood sugar, but not really has much to do with the insulin preparations. Gaining weight will do no favor to the controlling of diabetes. Therefore, diabetics should make diet control and actively participated in physical exercise.

In summary, diabetics should prevent, find about and try to cure the adverse reactions generated by insulin as early as possible. diabetics and family members should know how to cope with these reactions should make appropriate use of insulin in order to reduce the harm caused by adverse reactions of insulin to diabetics.

See also:
item Principles of the Treatment of Diabetes
item Five Contraindications for Diabetes
item Insulin:

item Hypoglycemic drugs:

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