Lumps and Bumps
People on insulin therapy sometimes complain of lump or bumps on the site of injection or infusion. What are these lumps and bumps? This condition is called Lipohypertrophy, a medical word used to denote a lump formation under the skin due to a buildup of fat at the site of injection or infusion. Apart from this, scar tissues and hardened areas might also be developed at the sites.
Lipohypertrophy can happen to anyone whether the insulin is delivered through a syringe or insulin pump. These lumps and bumps formed due to the action of insulin on fat cells, which increases them in size. When someone uses the same spot repeatedly, it is usually in the areas easiest to reach such as the side of the thighs and both sides of the belly button.
How do lumps and bumps affect glucose levels?
Insulin uptake into affected parts can affect glucose control. As insulin is unable to absorb in these areas and the person may not get the glucose level he expected to be. Also, the more damaged part will affect glucose control. Sometimes the affected areas damage nerve endings and the person may not feel anything on it. Hence, the person should avoid using those areas.
How can it be prevented if someone needs to take insulin?
If someone wants to prevent these lumps and bumps, they need to follow some simple things when taking insulin.
These are the things a diabetic can do while taking insulin:
Use a visual body map
take an imaginary shape like “M” or “W” in your mind on your body parts like the abdomen. Follow this shape while taking insulin. Don’t use the same site you have used last time instead use some other site in line with that imaginary shape.
Find some simple methods
keep it simple and in the pattern. For instance, if the person uses a glucose sensor on the right side, then he should use the next injection and next infusion on this site too. And when next time uses glucose sensor on the left side,
Use the calendar to track insulin sites
injections and infusion set insertions can be done on the front side of the body on specific days of the week, while others could be on the back. Also, someone may prefer to wear infusion sets on the back of their arm when more layered up during the winter and on some other site in other seasons. This pattern will allow tissues to heal.
People should talk to their doctors about using a new site that they never used or thought of using before. Also, moving to a new site may change the glucose control, this is why we need to test more frequently. For instance, if someone has been using the abdomen, where insulin is absorbed more fastly and suddenly shifts site to buttocks, a slow change in glucose levels might appear.
Safety points to remember
Insulin pumps, continuous glucose monitoring and other related components should be taken only when prescribed by a doctor and should be taken under the supervision of a healthcare professional who holds information regarding the possible risks of insulin pumps.
Successful and proper operation of the insulin pumps and continuous monitoring system requires careful vision in recognizing alerts and alarms.