Lipohypertrophy, what the heck is it anyway?
Do you have diabetes? Do you take insulin? Do you have lipohypertrophy?
Lipo-what? Yes, we know that lipohypertrophy is a word that is quite difficult to pronounce: (lipo-hy-per-tro-fi), that’s why we sometimes refer to it as “lipo” for short. Lipo’s can form under the skin where insulin injections are given, over and over. These areas are often your favourite place to inject simply because it doesn’t hurt as much to use them. Do you have a favourite area? If so, that’s often a tell-tale sign that you may be at risk for developing lipohypertropy.
Take a moment to look at and feel your injection sites:
- Remove or lift clothing from the areas where you inject.
- Stand in front of a mirror and look to see if you notice any raised areas at injection site.
- In circular, sweeping motions press the pads of your fingers over the areas where you normally inject.
- If lipos are present, the skin will feel different. For example, you may feel a rubbery like lump under the skin.
If you think you have lipohypertrophy speak with your doctor or diabetes educator, ask them to examine your sites and work with you to develop an action plan.
For more information check out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5uke089o-mQ
Tip – try feeling for lipos during your next shower, the soap will help your fingers glide over the area. Using gel or lotion would work too.
Mike is a Diabetes Nurse Educator and Clinical Marketing Manager with BD Medical – Diabetes Care. Mike plays an integral part of the FIT (Forum for Injection Technique) initiative in hopes of improving injection practices and diabetes care for all people living with diabetes.