Finding the Sweet Spot Using the Right Insulin Syringes

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Other than a miraculous cure, diabetics dream of a world where they can test and treat their sugar-levels without permeating the dermis. In more simple terms, they want painless insulin management.

While many research groups and corporate powerhouses — Apple and Google to name two — work furiously on non-invasive methods, for the foreseeable future diabetics remain stuck in a world where pins and needles are a necessary evil.

In fact, one biometric industry expert, CEO of Valencell, Steven LeBoeuf, recently advised Wareable that he didn’t believe non-invasive technology would ever pan out.

“It is completely impossible to have a truly noninvasive glucose monitor,” he told them. LeBoeuf added, “There will literally be stem cell regenerated pancreas cells in the body before there is ever anything that can be a truly noninvasive glucose monitor for dosing insulin.”

Of the diabetic population, about 15 percent live with injections. Getting insulin in the body lives in the same neighbourhood.

One cannot ingest insulin or smear it on the dermis. It has to get into the bloodstream quickly, and there’s only one way to do that, fat layer injections.

This is, however, only the tip of the truth iceberg about the life-diabetic. What diabetics want to know is which are the best syringes for insulin?

 

Best Syringes for Insulin

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For insulin administration, Medshop Australia recommends three brands above the rest, BD, Terumo, and SafetyGlide. All three are reliable brands with competitive reputations.

The only way to determine which of these brands is more your preference is to try them each, but we believe most users will see little variance between them.

There are, however, some variables within each brand one should consider before cleaning out the local pharmacy or awesome online medical supplier — ahem — of their insulin needle stock.

  1. Syringe Volume
  2. Needle Gauge
  3. Needle Length

Getting started on a diabetes treatment program can seem overwhelming with all the lances and meters, but there is one part one wants to get right as quickly as possible, purchasing the correct syringe.

 

Syringe Volume

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When it comes to volume, as the adage goes, less is more. Some believe, incorrectly, that bigger is better. Not in this case.

A large-barreled syringe will hold more insulin, this is true, but the smaller the barrel, the further apart the units. This makes it easier to read the numbers on the barrel, and easier to get the dosage correct.

Reading the units on the barrel can prove challenging enough for someone the first time. For example, the line on the needle side of the barrel is the correct one, not the one on the flange side.

To keep reading and dosing easy, the best syringe for each individual will be the smallest dosage option required.

Draw the insulin to the line as mentioned, and it’s ready to go.

 

Needle Gauge

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A needle’s gauge measures the thickness of the needle, the size of the piercing one must endure getting the insulin in the fat layer of the body.

Too thin, and it might bend or not permit a swift plunge of the insulin. Too thick, and… ouch. The good news is that manufacturing technology continues to improve, allowing stronger, thinner needles.

The thickness of needles has dropped in the last four decades. In the 1980s, 27-gauge needles were common. The thickest needles today start at 28 but go as thin as 31 gauge.

Manufacturers classify them with terms like fine, and ultra-fine, but gauges are standardized so look for those numbers to know which you are purchasing.

Traditionally, practitioners recommended lower-gauged (meaning thicker) needles for patients with thicker skin or higher body fat. The philosophy was that the larger gauge would stand a better chance of getting into the fat.

This is not necessarily true anymore, again, per technology.

 

Needle Length

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Whereas needle gauges have decreased in thickness since the 1980s, length of popular insulin needles has shrunk. Needles back then tended to be 16-mm long, but today a 4-mm needle is most common.

That doesn’t mean a 4-mm needle is best for every diabetic who needs them. One can still find 12.7 mm needles, but they are less frequently purchased by new diabetics.

The immediately apparent benefit of the short needle is psychological. A long needle looks intimidating, especially to a child. But, that's not the only reason.

Functionally, the longer the needle, the better chance of it bending too. The risk with a longer needle is the improper or painful administration of the insulin.

A short needle injects the insulin right where the diabetic wants it. More importantly, it avoids injecting the insulin in the wrong place.

Injecting into the muscle will cause an undeterminable glycemic level change, and poking a bone with a needle is like sticking your finger in a power socket. It's not pretty.

A 4 to 5-mm needle allows the diabetic to inject without pinching, pushing the needle at a 90-degree angle, and with only one hand. On convenience alone, it’s easy to understand why needles have generally come down in length.

Whether short needle, long one, thick needle or skinny one, understand that every use of a needle damages the point at an unseeable microscopic level. This damage can make insertion difficult and can cause unnecessary discomfort.

If the goal is painless management, it only makes sense to use a fresh needle every time. Until scientists can figure out an alternative, this means diabetics will need to keep a stockpile of needles nearby at all times.

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