What Happens If You Inject Insulin Into a Vein Consciously?

Diabetes has become a household name, and insulin prescriptions are at an all-time high. We all know what Insulin is at this point. Still, many people face issues regarding the proper use of insulin.

You must inject almost all prescribed insulin subcutaneously. This is the safest way, and it instigates the best response. 

But what happens if you inject insulin into a vein? The outcome depends on the type of insulin. It could result in a slightly faster drop to even a potentially lethal loss of consciousness. Then what is IV insulin therapy?  

I’ll answer all of your questions in this article.

what happens if you inject insulin into a vein
Photo by Alena Shekhovtcova from Pexels

Why is Insulin Injected Under The Skin?

The route of administration for insulin injection is subcutaneous adipose tissue. It is injected into parts of the body that have a high amount of fat under the skin. The insulin is injected via syringe or pen. 

The fat tissue under the skin absorbs the insulin and releases it into the bloodstream. This process happens gradually over time. The fat then releases the absorbed insulin into the blood steadily. 

This helps the body to respond to the rise of insulin at a stable pace. As a result, the blood sugar level falls slowly at a more natural rate to the body. 

The most popular sites of injection are the abdomen, thighs, upper arm, etc. These sites are close to your central body mass, so it helps to spread the insulin more evenly throughout the body. 

The lower arms and legs aren’t used as they are too far away from the central part of the body. 

Insulin May Not Work Sometimes. Do You Know When?

What Happens If You Inject Insulin Into a Vein?

People can sometimes make mistakes like hitting a blood vessel during insulin injection. Many people also believe that it can increase insulin absorption. Thus, yielding faster results. But is this dangerous? What are the side effects of injecting insulin directly into a vein? 

When injected into a vein, slow-acting or low dosage like IU40 20 mL insulin may show a faster than normal drop in blood sugar. But there are usually no problems. The person may go about their everyday life without issue. 

On the other hand, fast-acting or higher dosage insulin, if injected, may cause acute hypoglycemia. The blood sugar may drop very quickly. 

It may fall below the safe limits and get dangerously low. Severe acute hypoglycemia may cause the patient to fall unconscious.

If anyone becomes hyperglycemic after taking insulin, you must take them to the hospital immediately. 

What To Do In Case of Severe Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia is the biggest risk of taking insulin intravenously. As insulin acts quicker if injected into the vein, it may drop blood sugar rapidly. This may lead to severe complications like fainting, coma, or even death.

It’s important to know the early signs of hypoglycemia. If you know what to look out for, you’ll know when to seek help. Early signs of low blood sugar include:

  • Increased perspiration (sweating)
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Increased hunger
  • Tingling sensations 
  • Shakiness
  • Palpitations
  • Weakness

How to Treat Hypoglycemia Yourself

If you think you are hypoglycemic, acting quickly may save your life. If your blood sugar falls to 4 mmol/L or less, you have hypoglycemia. 

Your first task is to contact your doctor, hospital, or healthcare provider. Next, you’ll want to take some steps to elevate your blood sugar.

The following steps will help you to manage low blood sugar:

Take some sugar

Sugary snacks or drinks work best to raise your blood sugar level immediately. You can also take glucose by drinking it with water or taking tablets. 

Check your blood sugar

Check-in between 5 to 10-minute intervals to see if the blood sugar is rising. If there is little or no change, continue taking sugar. 

Have some more sweets or glucose and observe again after 5 to 10 minutes. Do you see what happens if you inject insulin into a vein? It can be scary sometimes. 

Take your meal

If it’s time for your meal, take it. Have a good amount of slow-releasing carbohydrates like rice, bread, biscuit, or full-fat milk. It can help slowly bring the blood sugar level back up to normal levels. 

If you find your blood sugar is stabilizing, there is no need to seek immediate medical attention. 

However, if you see that you’re still in hypo and the condition is not improving, go to the hospital. You’ll be given IV glucose to bring the blood sugar back up. 

What is IV Insulin Therapy?

Intravenous Insulin Therapy is a new medical practice. It is the administration of Insulin continuously through an IV drip. This treatment aims to control hyperglycemia of patients in the post-operative stage. 

Hyperglycemia complicates treatment in clinical courses of patients undergoing surgery. High blood sugar can interfere with medicines’ actions and make the body more vulnerable to infections. 

It is also very difficult to control the diabetes of patients in post-operative stages. 

So a new practice is being studied to see the effectiveness of administering Insulin intravenously. Possible benefits may include more efficient control over blood sugar level than traditional intermittent Insulin injections. 

It may also be more effective in patients having difficulty maintaining a stable glycemic profile. 

However, this new protocol is still being examined. It has not yet been widely accepted or adopted. So far, there have been no reported complications of IV Insulin therapy. But continuous research is being carried out to ensure that this new form of treatment is safe.

How to Safely Inject Insulin

It’s important to know how to safely inject insulin to prevent accidents like injecting into a vein. Because after the accident, you have to search crazily for what happens if you inject insulin into a vein. 

There are some important steps before injection. These steps include preparation of syringe or insulin injection pen, choosing a suitable area, etc. 

The first thing to know is which areas are safe. Fatty areas like the abdomen, upper arm, thighs, etc., are ideal injection sites for insulin pens. 

Insulin works fastest when injected into the abdomen. Don’t inject insulin into the same area repeatedly. Rotate between different regions to prevent lumps or bubbles under the skin after injection, swelling, or irritation.

The steps of correctly injecting insulin are as follows:

  1. Clean the area of the skin where you will inject. You can use alcohol wipes or any antiseptic rub.
  2. Pinch the skin to create a fold. Gently make a lump of skin and fat using your thumb and index finger.
  3. Push the injection straight down. Make sure the syringe isn’t being held at an angle. After the needle is inserted down into the skin, let go of the pinched skin.
  4. Push down the plunger gently. Press down steadily until all the insulin has been injected into the skin. Keep the needle in place for about 5 seconds. 
  5. Pull out the needle and hold down the area for 5-10 seconds. Don’t rub the skin. This is to prevent the insulin from leaking out after injection.
  6. Dispose of the needle proper. Don’t resume old syringes. Try to throw away the syringes separately in medial waste marked bins.

Here are some additional tips for insulin injection

  1. Don’t inject insulin straight out of the freezer. Always remove it from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes beforehand. Make sure it is at room temperature before you take the shot.
  2. Check your syringe to make sure there aren’t any air bubbles. Remove them by pushing the plunger gently until they are forced out.
  3. After cleaning your skin with alcohol, make sure the skin is dry.
  4. Take the injection in a comfortable and natural position. Make sure not to tense up the muscles under the injection site.
  5. Keep the needle perpendicular to the site of injection. Keep the needle straight during insertion or removal. 
  6. If there is blood coming out of the injection site, press down on it and hold for a few minutes. The blood will clot, and bleeding will stop on its own.

What If You Forget An Insulin Shot? Is it Really Dangerous?

Keeping Diabetes Under Control

Insulin itself is just one facet of diabetes management. To be effective, you also take care of the other factors that lead to high blood sugar. So you need to do all that you can to reduce it.

The three pillars of diabetes management are diet, dose, and discipline. Adjusting your diet, avoiding sugar and complex carbohydrates is the first step. Next is taking medicine in the proper dosage and in due time. And the last step is discipline-doing regular exercise, and living a more active and healthy life. 

For type 2 diabetes patients, sticking to these directives may improve your blood sugar levels drastically. The doctors can take patients off insulin if the blood sugar is stable by adhering to a strict diet and exercise regimen. And you don’t have to worry about what happens if you inject insulin into a vein.

For most people, the hardest part is diet control. It’s important to keep the intake of glucose and especially sugar low. Doing this lowers the demand for insulin production. Weight loss also helps in significantly improving the glycemic index. If you need help making a diet plan to control diabetes, we recommend Diabetes Freedom

Along with a good diet plan, you need adequate exercise. Make sure to get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day. Simple and easy activities like walking or jogging are effective. They consume the sugar in your blood and lower blood sugar levels.

Try to make a habit of walking to nearby places instead of taking the car. Instead of the elevator, take the stairs. Healthy habits like these go a long way in keeping your diabetes in check.

FAQ

Why am I bleeding after insulin injection?

Sometimes bleeding occurs after an insulin injection. This is most likely because of the needle hitting some small blood vessels called capillaries. The bleeding is usually very slight, painless, and stops on its own in a minute or so. 

What happens if you accidentally inject insulin into a vein?

If you accidentally inject insulin into a vein, there’s no need to panic. There is no immediate danger in insulin being directly injected into a vein. 

Just keep an eye on your blood sugar as it may drop rapidly. Take some sugary food or glucose tablets to raise blood sugar. But contact your doctor if you see the blood sugar is getting too low.

What to do if the injection site starts bleeding?

If your insulin pen has got blood on it, you most likely hit some small blood vessels under the skin. This can happen once in a while. You can stop the bleeding by just pressing down on the area for some time. The blood will clot, and the bleeding will stop by itself.

what happens if you inject insulin into a vein
Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

The Last Words

We hope this article has given you an idea of what happens if you inject insulin into a vein.

To recap, there’s nothing to be panicked about. Make sure to take some form of sugar to slow the blood sugar drop. Keep an eye on the sugar level and call an ambulance if it gets too low. If you follow the steps described in this article, you’ll be just fine.

I'm a medical student from Bangladesh. As a doctor in the making, I'm fascinated by the regular advancements of medical science. This fuels my passion for trying to follow a health-conscious lifestyle. I love writing and sharing thoughts and ideas. I hope that my work can reach out and help people to enjoy a healthy, happy life. Muhtasim Munir MBBS (3rd year) Armed Forces Medical College

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