Repeated insulin injections in the same part of the body can cause lipodystrophy, an alteration to the subcutaneous (i.e., under the skin) fat layer that can slow absorption of the medication. If your insulin isn't working as well as it should, try rotating injection sites.
Other factors that impact how quickly insulin starts to work:
- Location. Insulin injected into the abdomen or stomach area is absorbed much faster than that injected into the upper arms, hips, or buttocks.
- Exercise. Working a limb that you just injected into can speed absorption (e.g., injecting into the arm and then playing tennis).
- Temperature. Hot weather or a hot bath or shower causes blood vessels to dilate, which can in turn speed insulin action.
- Storage and technique. Insulin that has been stored incorrectly may lose its potency, and insulin that isn't injected properly (i.e., subcutaneously, or into the fat layer under the skin) may not be properly absorbed.
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