Diabetes Insulin Medications (cont.)
Gary D. Vogin, MD
Dr. Vogin is a board-certified general internist, having completed his residency in internal medicine at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia in June 1994. Before deciding on internal medicine, Vogin prepared for a career in pathology and was Outstanding Transitional First Year Graduate at St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, N.J., in 1991.
In this Article
- What is the diabetes medication insulin and how does it work?
- For what conditions is the diabetes medication insulin used?
- Are there differences among types of insulin?
- How is the diabetes drug insulin administered?
- How should the diabetes medication insulin be stored?
- How often should blood glucose be checked when taking insulin?
- What are the side effects of the diabetes drug insulin?
- What are the drug interactions with the diabetes medication insulin?
- What are warnings and precautions the diabetes drug insulin?
- What are some examples of insulin?
- Prescription Oral Diabetes Medications
What are the side effects of the diabetes drug insulin?
The main side effects of insulin have to do with taking too little or too much of the drug. The former can result in high blood sugar, or hyperglycemia.
A person with diabetes who has hyperglycemia frequently or for long periods of time may suffer damage to the blood vessels, nerves, and organs. In a worst-case scenario, hyperglycemia can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis, a potentially life-threatening condition. Loss of appetite, thirst, flushing, drowsiness, and a fruity odor on the breath are the first signs of diabetic ketoacidosis.
Low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia can result from taking too much insulin, although missing meals and exercising excessively can also bring it on. This, too, can be a life-threatening. Initial signs of hypoglycemia include dizziness, sweating, tremor, confusion, and hunger. It's important to intervene before symptoms progress.
High doses of insulin can lower levels of potassium. If potassium gets too low, it can cause muscle aches or weakness, abnormal heart rhythms and even death. Other side effects of insulin include break down of fat at the injection site, the injection site might be depressed or raised, and allergic reactions, which can be local or involve the entire body. The latter may be life-threatening.
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