Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas, an organ located near the stomach. It is responsible for helping the body to absorb and use glucose, or sugar, from the food we eat. In people with diabetes, the body either does not produce enough insulin or does not use it properly. This leads to an excess of glucose in the blood, which can cause serious health problems and even death. The good news is that insulin therapy can help those with diabetes to control their blood sugar levels and manage the disease.
What is Insulin?
Insulin is a hormone that is produced by the pancreas. It helps the body to absorb glucose from the food we eat. Glucose is a type of sugar that is the primary source of energy for the body. When the body does not produce enough insulin, or does not use it properly, glucose builds up in the blood. This is called hyperglycemia, and it can cause serious health problems.
Types of Insulin
There are several types of insulin available to treat diabetes. The most common types are rapid-acting insulin, short-acting insulin, intermediate-acting insulin, and long-acting insulin. The type of insulin prescribed depends on the needs of the individual.
Rapid-acting insulin is typically taken just before a meal and starts to work in about 15 minutes. It peaks in about one hour and lasts for about three to five hours. It is usually taken in combination with a longer-acting insulin.
Short-acting insulin starts to work in about 30 minutes and peaks in two to four hours. It usually lasts for up to eight hours. It is usually taken in combination with a longer-acting insulin.
Intermediate-acting insulin typically starts to work in about two hours and peaks in four to twelve hours. It usually lasts for about 18 to 24 hours. It is usually taken in combination with a rapid-acting insulin.
Long-acting insulin typically starts to work in about four hours and peaks in about 18 to 24 hours. It usually lasts for up to 36 hours. It is usually taken once or twice a day.
How Insulin Works
When insulin is injected into the body, it attaches to receptors on the surface of cells in the body. This triggers the cells to absorb glucose from the blood. The glucose is then converted into energy or stored in the body as fat or glycogen. Insulin also helps to regulate the amount of glucose in the blood by increasing the rate at which glucose is absorbed by the cells and decreasing the rate at which glucose is released from the liver.
Benefits of Insulin
Insulin therapy has many benefits for people with diabetes. It helps to control blood sugar levels, reduce the risk of long-term health complications, and improve quality of life. It can also help to reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, and other heart-related problems. Insulin can also help to reduce the risk of eye, kidney, and nerve damage caused by diabetes.
Side Effects of Insulin
The most common side effects of insulin include weight gain, low blood sugar, and allergic reactions. Weight gain is usually caused by the body storing extra glucose as fat. Low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, can occur if too much insulin is taken or if the person does not eat enough food. Allergic reactions can occur if the person is allergic to any of the components of the insulin.
Insulin therapy is an important part of managing diabetes. It helps to control blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of long-term health complications. It is important to speak to your healthcare provider about the benefits and risks of insulin therapy and discuss any side effects that you may experience. With proper management, people with diabetes can lead a healthy and active life.