Many Diabetic Patients Are Sloppy When Changing The Syringe Tip

If you have diabetes, it is important to change the needle and vary the injection site when measuring blood sugar or injecting insulin. – Unfortunately, I see that many people are sloppy with this, says diabetes nurse Beryll Kristensen.

A diabetic patient often measures blood sugar and injects insulin several times a day.

There are many punctures every day, and the needles should be changed each time.

– Many people don’t do that, says Beryll Kristensen. She was formerly a leader in the specialist group for Diabetes nurses and is currently a Diabetes nurse at Ringen Apotek Jessheim.

Many times daily

Failure to change the needle in the syringe can have several unfortunate consequences. Kristensen says that there are nevertheless very many people who are sloppy with this very thing.

People with type 1 or type 2 diabetes measure their blood sugar frequently. Some check once a day, others measure many times. A common way to measure is to prick your finger and read the values ​​on a blood glucose meter. In addition to the blood glucose meter itself, you need test strips and a lancing device to insert the lancet/needle.

Insulin must be injected, or injected, under the skin. This can be done with an insulin pen, which is a type of syringe. How many times insulin is given per day also varies a lot.

Common to both measuring blood sugar and injecting insulin is that the pen and syringe should have a new tip each time it is used.

Big consequences

According to Kristensen, it is problematic if you do not change the tip both when measuring blood sugar and setting insulin.

– Perhaps the most important thing is to change the needle every time you inject insulin, she says. It is well known that although some people change the tip every time they inject, many are sloppy and rarely change.

– It can have major consequences, says Kristensen.

She says that the needle is very thin. It gets slightly bent every time you stab. If it is not changed every time, it will not be as sharp as it should be. This makes it more painful to stab.

– There is also a greater risk of infection in the skin. But perhaps the most important thing is that you risk not getting the insulin you should have, she says.

Kristensen explains that skin residues can get into the syringe so that it is stopped. Or there may be some blood left from last time that makes you think you are putting in the insulin you should. Therefore, one should in any case spray 1-2 units into the air to ensure that the needle is not clogged

If the point is dull, and it becomes more painful to stab, there is a greater chance of stabbing where it doesn’t hurt so much. If you stick in the same place all the time, fat pads can form under the skin. You run the risk of the insulin stopping in the pad. This can lead to an adverse effect of insulin.

If the syringe tip is not replaced and is left in, there is a chance that air will enter the syringe. The air bubbles are not harmful, but they can be counted as units when injecting insulin. You can count 20 units but then you only put 17 – because the pen also counts the air bubbles as units.

– Take off the tip every time, and don’t put it back on until you are going to use the syringe again, she says.

Dull and rough needle

Kristensen emphasizes that it is also important to be precise when measuring blood sugar. The silicone coating on the tip wears off, and this makes the needles rougher and duller. This makes it more painful to pierce your finger.

– Some people experience pain in their fingertips when they measure their blood sugar. It may be because they change tips too rarely. If it hurts to poke, perhaps you don’t do it often enough – and that’s problematic. Not changing the tip is also unhygienic, she says.

– Why do many people change less often than they should?

– There are many people who do not receive guidance on this and who do not know the consequences, says Kristensen.

Measuring blood sugar must be done everywhere, on the bus or in a restaurant. You would like to do it quickly and discreetly – that may be the reason why you don’t change. But remember: the less often you change the tip, the worse it will be to poke your fingertips.

She says she sees more misuse in patients with type 2 diabetes than those with type 1. She thinks it is because there is less follow-up, the GP has limited time, and few people talk about this.