Insulin Types

There is no doubt that you heard many things about insulin, also, you may have seen many persons of your family or friends using it. So, we will give you a quick ideas about insulin, its types, hour it can be used and when the patient needs to take it.


It is a hormone, secreted by the pancreas, the body needs it to carry the simple sugar/glucose to the cells to utilize it for production of energy and performing all the vital functions in the cell. The glucose is looking like the fuel (energy) needed for function of the cells and the insulin is responsible for carrying this fuel to the cells.

  1. All patients of type 1 diabetes; as in this type the body is not secreting insulin as is secreting it in small – very small quantities, so the patients needs to take it for ever/continuously to maintain the blood sugar level.
  2. Some patients of type 2 diabetes; as their body is unable to continue secreting insulin any time.

When you inject yourself with insulin, it must reach the blood circulation at first, it must reach the blood circulation at first, hence it needs sometime (the time varies from one type to other type) to reach the peak level for its efficiency to work and be effective for treatment.

There are different types of insulin, some of them are working faster than others (your doctor is the best one to advice you about the suitable type for your use. We will arrange time for to take insulin to avoid any alterations in the level of insulin in your blood.

It is important to maintain the level of insulin in the blood, you must be aware about arranging the times of taking your meals.

There are several types of insulin, varies according to their onset of action, duration of effectiveness. Rapid, intermediate, and long acting insulin are available. Generally speaking, the rapid acting insulin is used to manage the elevation of blood sugar after meals, while the intermediate acting and long acting ones are used to cover the body needs of insulin allover the day.

The aim is to give the patient the suitable type of insulin according to his lifestyle and nutritional system.

Insulin Onset Of Action Peak Of Action Duration Of Action Example Notes
Rapid acting 10-15 mints 60-90 mints 4-5 hrs Novarapid Apidra Humalog Due to the fact that it is working after short time, it is given 5-10 minutes before as after taking meals
Short acting insulin 30-60 mints 2-4 hours 5-8 hours Actrapid Humulin -R This type of insulin needs about 30 mits at least to start its action. So, you must wait for about 30 minuets before taking your meal.
Intermediate acting insulin 1-3 hours 5-8 hours 12-18 hours Insulutard NPH Usually this type of insulin is given twice daily to comply with body needs for the whole day. This type can be mixed with the rapid acting insulin
Long acting insulin 90 minutes Usually has no peak 20-24 hours Lantus This type of insulin is used to cover the body needs of insulin for the whole day. As its effectiveness is for about 24 hours its usually given once daily. As this type of insulin has no peak level, the probability of having a rapid decrease in the glucose level in the blood is low, so, the patient usually doses not need to take any meals after taking this type of insulin, also, it can be taken at bet time.

(The units which I will take equals ____ units)

  1. Wash your hand
  2. If you will inject yourself with turbid insulin shake the glass container gently to mix the insulin inside it, then wipe the cover of the container with alcohol antiseptic
  3. Remove the needle cover and aspirate air equals to the same amount of the insulin unite you will take.
  4. Insert the needle into the glass container and inject/push all the amount of air into the glass container.
  5. Without removing the needles, upright the glass container and aspirate the needed insulin units.
  6. Be sure of absence of any air bubbles inside the needles, if there is any, gently move the needle to the push the bubbles to the upper part, then inject the bubbles to inside the container, then aspirate insulin again to reach the required units.
  7. Remove the needle, and put the container on the table.

So, you have successively prepared the required insulin injection and it is now for injection.


Injection of air

The cause of the importance of injecting air to replace insulin in the containers when you aspirates insulin is that the insulin containers are usually evacuated from air, so it is important to inject air in the insulin containers.

Air bubbles

It is not dangerous to inject the skin with some air bubbles, the cause of being a ware about absence of air bubbles from the injection is that air bubbles will occupy a space and makes aspiration of insulin from the container more difficult.

How I can inject myself with insulin
  1. fix about 2.5 cm of the fatty tissue between your fingers
  2. introduce the needle in a vertical position in the fatty tissue
  3. inject the insulin slowly in your body
  4. release your fingers from grasping the skin , wait for sometimes , then remove the needle.

You had successively injected yourself with insulin.

Insulin Absorption

The insulin injected at the abdomen is absorbed faster than that injected at the thigh, hence, it is advised to inject the long to inject the long acting insulin in the thigh while injecting the short acting one in the abdomen.

Moving of the lower and upper limbs, before injection, will facilitate rapid absorption of insulin.Cold insulin is absorbed slowly.

Storage of insulin

  1. Insulin must be stored in a frigeder
  2. Do not freeze insulin containers and keep the containers away from exposure to heat

Recommendations for traveling

  1. Take with you enough amount of insulin and additional amount
  2. Carry the insulin and blood glucose monitoring devices in your hand case.
  3. Keep insulin cold
  4. Take with you prescription from your physician describing your case as diabetic patient on insulin
  5. Insulin pens may not be available in some countries, it is recommended to take insulin in glass containers and needles.
  6. Before purchasing insulin, be sure about its concentration, be sure to get the needles compatible with the type of insulin.
  7. Enjoy your trip.

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