Diabetes patient gets independence back with insulin injections
Although some fear the needle, technology has made process easier and more convenient
After being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2006, Madam Hajjah Patimah Ideris had to take 10 pills daily and experienced side effects such as dizziness and nausea.
One morning in 2015, Madam Hajjah fainted from hypoglycaemia, a condition where a person's blood glucose levels are lower than normal, and her doctor suggested she switch to insulin injections.
The injection controls blood glucose levels in a diabetic when there is a lack of insulin production by the body, and it is administered when oral medication fails.
Madam Hajjah started nightly insulin injections using the BD Ultra-Fine Pro 4mm pen needle.
She was initially apprehensive and even a little fearful of injecting herself, but her concerns soon evaporated, along with the dizziness and nausea.
She started her favourite Zumba lessons again and took walks without any discomfort.
Speaking to The New Paper, the 72-year-old retiree said: "Administering the injection has become a routine... Being independent and going out alone is something I enjoy now. Before the treatment, I was too tired and giddy to step out of the house."
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There were 640,000 patients in Singapore with diabetes last year, and the number is estimated to reach one million by 2050.
Approximately 75,000 patients require regular insulin injections to maintain glycaemic control.
Those who need insulin injections may find it difficult to accept or comply with the treatment because of various misconceptions.
Dr Shailendra Bajpai, regional medical director for greater Asia at global medical technology company BD, told TNP: "They may fear the prick and pain from needles, hypoglycaemia and the social stigma of insulin injections.
"Physically, they may also face difficulty with insulin delivery due to challenges with hand grip, visual impairment or lack of education on proper injection techniques.
"But insulin injections are now easier and more convenient to administer with insulin pen needles, and technological advances and innovation in the insulin delivery space have allowed for a reliable, consistent injection experience."
While the transition to pen needles can be an anxiety-ridden process for some, Ms Daljit Kaur, a diabetes nurse educator from non-profit organisation Diabetes Singapore, said it is her job to "reassure and train patients to ensure the proper administration of insulin therapy".
She stressed that the right pen needles are thin and "less painful than a finger prick".
She added: "Confidence building and reassurance are of utmost importance. These can take the form of health education, product awareness and even product demonstrations across the range of available pen needles to address any misconception and anxiety felt by the patient."