Everything You Need to Know About Insulin
is a hormone made in the pancreas, a gland located behind the stomach. It
allows the body to use glucose for energy. Glucose is a type of sugar found in
many carbohydrates. After a meal or snack, the digestive tract breaks down and
changes carbohydrates into glucose. Once glucose releases into the bloodstream,
insulin causes cells throughout the body to absorb this sugar and use it for
also plays a key role in balancing blood glucose levels. When there’s too much
glucose in the bloodstream, insulin signals the body to store excess sugar in
the liver. This sugar isn’t released until your blood sugar drops, such as
in-between meals or at times of stress when your body needs an extra boost of
How Insulin Affects Diabetes?
occurs when your body doesn't use insulin properly, or doesn't produce enough
insulin. There are two main types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2.
1 diabetes is a type of autoimmune disease where the body no longer produces
insulin. In this disease, failure to produce insulin is due to the immune
system having destroyed all of the insulin-producing cells in the
pancreas. This disease is more common in
young people, although it can develop in adults. Type 2 diabetes also affects
people of any age, but typically develops later in life.
type 1 diabetes, the primary problem in persons with type 2 is a decreased
response to the effects of insulin by the glucose requiring cells of the body
(insulin resistance). Therefore,
throughout much of the course of type 2 diabetes, patients may actually
overproduce insulin in an effort to keep blood sugar levels normal. However, over many years, this overproduction
can cause the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas to burn out. At that point, such patients become dependent
upon insulin treatment.
injections can treat both types of diabetes. But many people with type 2
diabetes can manage their blood sugar with lifestyle changes and medication.
Sometimes, patients with type 2 diabetes are unable to achieve normal blood
sugar levels using only oral medications and lifestyle modification, and these people
may need insulin to maintain a healthy blood sugar level. Because people with
type 1 diabetes cannot make insulin, they must use insulin to control the
Types of Insulin
cannot be taken by mouth. It must be injected with a syringe, an insulin pen,
or an insulin pump. Although at the cellular level all insulin’s have the same
effect, chemical modification of the insulin protein has allowed for the
development of different types of insulin for the treatment of diabetes. The main important differences between the
various types of insulin used in diabetes treatment are the speed of onset and
the duration of the effects of the drug.
type of insulin begins working approximately 15 minutes after an injection. The
injection can last for 3 to 5 hours, and it's often taken before a meal.
before a meal, insulin starts working in about 30 minutes to 60 minutes after
an injection, and lasts 5 to 8 hours.
may not start working until one hour after an injection, but it can lasts up to
type of insulin starts working in 1 to 3 hours after injection, and may last 12
to 16 hours.
is injected under the skin, and your doctor or a nurse can provide instructions
on how to administer injections. You can inject insulin in many different parts
of your body, such as the thigh and abdomen. Don’t inject insulin within two
inches of the belly button. You should vary the location of injections to
prevent skin thickening.
treatment varies by person. Your doctor may instruct you to take insulin 60
minutes before a meal, or just before eating. The amount of insulin you'll need
on a daily basis depends on numerous factors including your diet, your level of
physical activity, and the severity of your diabetes. Some people only need one
insulin shot a day, while others need three or four shots a day. Your doctor
may also combine a rapid-acting insulin with a long-acting insulin.
reactions (hypoglycemia) can occur in people who take insulin to manage their
diabetes. When you take insulin, it needs to be balanced with food or calories.
If you exercise too much or don't eat enough, the level of sugar in your blood
can drop too low and trigger a reaction. Signs of an insulin reaction include:
stop the effects of an insulin reaction, carry at least 15 g of a fast-acting
carbohydrate with you at all times (American
Academy of Family Physicians). For example:
a 1/2 cup of non-diet soda
cup of fruit juice
tablespoons of raisins
can keep your blood sugar level within a healthy range and reduce the risk of
diabetes complications, such as blindness and limb amputation. It's important
that you monitor your blood sugar regularly, and make lifestyle changes to
prevent your blood sugar level from getting too high.