Living with diabetes is not easy. It is especially difficult for adults and children who need to give insulin every day with meals. Taking a safe and effective dose of insulin with a meal requires training, experience, motivation, and time. Unfortunately, other factors can also affect a person’s ability to give a dose of insulin at the right time. This can lead to difficulties achieving personal goals for blood glucose levels. In the long-term, this can increase the personal risk for complications linked to diabetes.
Missing insulin can lead to high HbA1c levels
In a recent review of published information on missed and mistimed insulin doses, researchers reviewed the data from almost 60,000 insulin treated individuals across 12 countries. The studies included people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. They found that the proportion of people with diabetes mistiming their mealtime insulin dose ranged between 20% and 45%. This was associated with higher HbA1c levels as well as increased risk of lower than normal blood sugar levels (also called hypoglycemia). Missing a dose completely was also very common.
There are many reasons for suboptimal insulin use. However, researchers found that the main reasons were due to disrupted daily routines, social situations, and hypoglycemia avoidance. The study also found that health care professionals may have different estimations of how often missed or delayed insulin dosing around meals happens compared to individuals with diabetes. Missed or mistimed doses and can be unintentional (such as forgetting for various reasons) and intentional (such as deliberately not taking insulin as directed) for a variety of reasons.
Will smart insulin pens help?
Smart insulin pens can record the dose and time of an insulin injection. This may help to reduce the frequency of missed or mistimed doses. These new devices are going to be available soon.