Talking With Your Doctor About Insulin

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How to Recognize an Insulin Reaction

Sometimes, insulin can cause your blood sugar to dip too low, a condition called hypoglycemia. Discuss the signs with your doctor and what to do if you experience them. Symptoms include:


  • Confusion

  • Fatigue and frequent yawning

  • Loss of consciousness

  • Paleness

  • Sweating

  • Twitching

Keep at least 15 grams of fast-acting carbohydrates—such as glucose tablets, a half-cup of fruit juice or regular soda, or 5 pieces of hard candy—with you at all times. Take 1 at the first sign of an insulin reaction. Also, talk with your doctor about using a glucagon kit, which works to raise blood sugar when carbohydrates alone don’t.

It’s also a good idea to let those around you, such as people you work with, know that you take insulin. Tell them what to do—like get you fruit juice or your stash of candy—in case they notice you’re having any of the symptoms above.

The Costs of Insulin

Different formulas of insulin may have different prices. If you have trouble paying for your insulin, your doctor often can help connect you with assistance programs.

Key Takeaways

It’s helpful to have a list of things to discuss when you go to a doctor’s appointment. Here’s a quick reference guide of questions to ask your doctor about starting insulin injections:

  • What type of insulin do I need?

  • How much does it cost?

  • How often will I have to inject the insulin?

  • How do I inject it? What if I can’t do it?

  • What are my other options besides injecting insulin myself?

  • What symptoms and sensations should I pay attention to? When should I call 911?

Medical Reviewers: Brian McDonough, MD Last Review Date: Nov 13, 2013

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Medical References

  1. Alternative Devices for Taking Insulin. National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (NDIC), Aug. 1, 2012. http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/insulin/
  2. Diabetes: Insulin Therapy. American Academy of Family Physicians, January 2011. http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/diabetes/treatment/insulin-therapy.print... 
  3. How do Insulin Pumps Work? American Diabetes Association, 2013. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/medication/insulin/insulin-pumps-how...
  4. Insulin. American Diabetes Association, June 28, 2013. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/medication/insulin/?print=t
  5. Insulin Basics. American Diabetes Association, June 28, 2013. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/medication/insulin/insulin-basics.ht...
  6. Insulin Routines. American Diabetes Association, June 28, 2013. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/medication/insulin/insulin-routines....
  7. Insulin Storage and Syringe Safety. American Diabetes Association, June 28, 2013. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/medication/insulin/insulin-storage-a... 
  8. Prescription Assistance. American Diabetes Association, 2013. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/health-insurance-options/prescriptio... 
  9. Types of Insulin. National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (NDIC), Feb. 16, 2012. http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/medicines_ez/insert_C.aspx
  10. What I need to know about Diabetes Medicines. National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (NDIC), Feb. 16, 2012. http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/medicines_ez/ 

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