Integrated Diabetes Services (IDS) provides detailed advice and coaching on diabetes management from certified diabetes educators and dieticians. Insulin Nation hosts a regular Q&A column from IDS that answers questions submitted from the Type 1 diabetes community.
Q – Every time I think I know what I’m talking about when it comes to diabetes, I come across a new thing to worry about. I saw something about lipohypertrophy. What is it and should I worry about it?
A – Lipohypertrophy is when fatty lumps appear on the surface, or just under the surface, of the skin. This is a fairly common side effect from insulin injections or insulin pump sites. It is more likely to occur if injections are administered to roughly the same part of the skin over a period of time, or if the same patch of body real estate is used for pump infusion sets over and over again.
When the skin becomes lumpy, the insulin injected or pumped into this area won’t be absorbed as consistently as it once was, which can mean it will take longer to be absorbed or it will be inadequately absorbed. This can lead to higher than usual blood glucose levels.
The signs of lipohypertrophy are a raised area of the skin at the injection or infusion site. The raised area may cover a wide area – up to an inch in diameter. The skin affected will feel more firm than the skin elsewhere on your body.
The best treatment for lipohypertrophy is to avoid injecting or applying infusion sets in the affected area of skin until it has fully healed. Prevention is easier than dealing with lipohypertrophy after the fact. Make sure you pick a different area of skin for each injection and rotate your injection and infusion sites. Ideally, you should aim to keep each new injection spot at least an inch away from your previous injection sites and a new infusion site two inches from the old site.
Integrated Diabetes Services provides one-on-one education and glucose regulation for people who use insulin. Diabetes “coaching” services are available in-person and remotely via phone and online for children and adults. Integrated Diabetes Services offers specialized services for insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor users, athletes, pregnancy & Type 1 diabetes, and those with Type 2 diabetes who require insulin. For more information, call 1-610-642-6055, go to integrateddiabetes.com or write firstname.lastname@example.org.
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