Lipohypertrophy, what's the big deal?
Well, besides having lumpy, “not-so-pretty” areas on your body, the main concern is that if you inject into a lipo, your insulin may not be absorbed the way it should be resulting in ups and downs in blood sugar control and the need for more insulin.
Also, there’s a lot we know about lipohypertrophy, but still a lot we don’t know. We don’t know how long it will take for it to go away or why some people develop it while others don’t. But, we do know that you have the power to prevent it with some simple changes to your injection routine…
Look and Feel
First, it’s important to look at and feel your injection sites on a regular basis, this way you can detect a problem before it gets worse.
Start Rotating, Keep Rotating
A structured rotation plan can help prevent lipos. To protect your “real estate”, it is important that you do not have a favourite spot! Here’s how:
- Choose an area on your body to inject (abdomen, thighs, buttocks or back of arm).
- Then, select a zone about the size of a postcard; use this zone for about a week.
- Then, imagine a grid on your body and select a site to inject. Your next site should be about 1 finger width from your last injection.
- When you’ve used up an entire zone, move to another zone, in structured way.
Do not reuse your needles.
Did you know that reusing your needles may also lead to lipohypertrophy? Why chance it? Use a new needle each time.
I think I have a lipo, what now?
First, speak with your doctor or diabetes educator to develop an action plan, this might include:
- Avoiding injecting into the area
- Monitoring your blood sugar levels more closely
- Choosing a site rotation pattern that works for you, one that you can easily remember
- Using shorter pen needles, like the BD Nano™ 4mm, to reduce the chances of injecting into muscle when using new injection areas
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.