Insulin, in people without diabetes, is naturally produced in the pancreas as one of two hormones needed to help regulate blood glucose levels in the body. If you remember the post on February 17th, talking about insulin and glucagon and the fact that blood glucose provides energy to keep the brain functioning, then you already know why it is necessary.
Since insulin is the most important hormone as its duty is to lower the blood sugar level of the body, what happens when enough insulin is not produced within the pancreas? Then an individual may have to get insulin shots which mimic the release of insulin from a normal pancreas.
If insulin has to be pushed, then there are two methods to getting it into the body:
- Multiple daily injection therapy
- Insulin pump
Both methods are good; whichever your client chooses must fit their lifestyle best.
The difference is that if your client takes multiple daily injections, they may take three or more shots each day. The elderly client may have to take a shot of short-acting, or what is termed Regular insulin before they eat each meal and an intermediate- or long-acting insulin shot before they go to bed.
An insulin pump is a tiny pump that releases insulin into your client’s body through a plastic tube. The pump delivers a more constant dose of Regular insulin into the client’s system and also has the ability to release extra insulin if needed.
No matter which method your client uses, it is most important to remind them to check their blood glucose levels several times a day so that they are aware of their levels and how much insulin to administer. It is also important because the client will be aware how long before a meal to administer the hormone. If the client is not completely regulated, or feeling lousy, it may also be really vital to have them test two to three hours after eating to make certain their insulin levels are being maintained. Pay attention to the client’s activity level as this will also affect insulin levels. If not ambulatory, it may be even more important to check!
This all seems complicated – and it certainly can be – but it is all in keeping with the goal that With Age Comes Respect!