I have been sitting in meeting after meeting recently discussing the topic: high blood glucose (BG). People representing teams all over the company have thrown around the question “How can we help customers with unexplained high numbers” (without giving medical advice, of course, since you should rely on your doctor for that)?
One of the reasons that continues to come up for potential high numbers without one realizing it, is insulin. So for customers like me, who rely on insulin to stay alive, here are 3 questions to ask yourself when filling up that next reservoir.
1. Has the insulin been sitting out in extreme temperatures?
As we have survived the summer months and will now be experiencing the colder (well, in SoCal, we will experience “cooler”) weather, it’s important to keep the temperature of your insulin in mind. Look at the package insert from your insulin manufacturer to confirm this, but typically insulin should never be stored in extreme temperatures (under 36 F or over 86 F). This means, don’t put it in places like a freezer or the glove box of your car! So if your insulin goes something along the lines of the Katy Perry song “You’re hot then you’re cold”, you may really want to think through the best way to store it.
24-Hour HelpLine Tip: Make sure to not only think about storing insulin at consistent temperatures while at home, but plan ahead when you are travelling (like calling the hotel where you’re staying to make sure there is a fridge there.)
2. Is the insulin expired?
With random bottles of insulin in the three fridges in my house, some full, some halfway, while some hold only a small amount, it makes it hard to remember when I last filled my prescription. Check with your insulin manufacturer, but the average days you can use a vial is around 28 days. After 10 years with diabetes, this blog post is prompting me to start paying better attention to my insulin vials, and to document when I begin to use a bottle, even with something as simple as writing the date with a Sharpie on the bottle. I have enough high numbers from things like Thai food, so I might as well take expired insulin off the list of reasons for potential highs!
24-Hour HelpLine Tip: If your insulin is well within the expiration date but does not seem to bring your high BGs down with a correction bolus, contact your healthcare provider and insulin manufacturer to discuss possible issues with the insulin.
3. Is the insulin cloudy?
This is something easy to overlook in the hustle and bustle of life when you are changing out that reservoir every 2-3 days. So before you fill up the reservoir, take a peek at your vial. If it appears to be cloudy or has visible crystals or particles, it is considered denatured (broken down) insulin and you should consider using a different vial if you have one available.
24-Hour HelpLine Tip: Denatured insulin can also cause clogs in your infusion set and trigger alarms so when in doubt, change it out.
I hope my information and the tips from the 24-Hour HelpLine come in handy. It is yet another reminder to me of how important it is to not just go with the flow, but to stop every now and then and really pay attention!
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
– Medtronic Diabetes insulin infusion pumps, continuous glucose monitoring systems and associated components are limited to sale by or on the order of a physician and should only be used under the direction of a healthcare professional familiar with the risks associated with the use of these systems.
– Successful operation of the insulin infusion pumps and/or continuous glucose monitoring systems requires adequate vision and hearing to recognize alerts and alarms.
Medtronic Diabetes Insulin Infusion Pumps
– Insulin pump therapy is not recommended for individuals who are unable or unwilling to perform a minimum of four blood glucose tests per day.
– Insulin pumps use rapid-acting insulin. If your insulin delivery is interrupted for any reason, you must be prepared to replace the missed insulin immediately.
Medtronic Diabetes Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) Systems
– The information provided by CGM systems is intended to supplement, not replace, blood glucose information obtained using a home glucose meter. A confirmatory fingerstick is required prior to treatment.
– Insertion of a glucose sensor may cause bleeding or irritation at the insertion site. Consult a physician immediately if you experience significant pain or if you suspect that the site is infected.
Please visit MedtronicDiabetes.com/isi for complete safety information.
Tags: cold weather