What Is Type 2 Diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes is a condition where the body is unable to effectively use the insulin it produces. This results in high levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood. It is a chronic condition, meaning it can last over a long period of time and requires ongoing management. It is estimated that there are over 300 million people living with type 2 diabetes worldwide.
Type 2 diabetes is usually diagnosed in adulthood and is most commonly seen in people over the age of 40, although it can affect younger people as well. It is strongly linked to lifestyle factors such as obesity, physical inactivity, and poor diet. It is also associated with a family history of diabetes, being of certain racial or ethnic backgrounds, and certain medical conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
What Is Insulin?
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas. It helps the body use glucose from the food we eat as energy. In people with diabetes, the pancreas either doesn’t make enough insulin or the body can’t use the insulin it produces. This means that the glucose in the blood can’t be used as energy and instead builds up in the bloodstream.
When this happens, insulin is usually prescribed as a medication to help the body use the glucose. It can be taken in pill form or injected. It is important to note that insulin does not cure diabetes, but rather helps to control it.
When Is Insulin Indicated for Type 2 Diabetes?
Insulin is usually prescribed when lifestyle changes (such as diet and exercise) and other medications have not been successful in managing blood glucose levels. Insulin is indicated for people with type 2 diabetes who have:
- High blood sugar levels that are not controlled with other medications
- A low level of glucose in their blood (hypoglycemia)
- Signs of ketoacidosis (buildup of acids in the blood)
- A history of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA)
Insulin is also used in some cases where a person with type 2 diabetes has difficulty or is unable to take other medications. It is important to note that insulin should not be used as a first-line treatment for type 2 diabetes. It is only indicated when other treatments have not been effective.
Types of Insulin
There are four main types of insulin: rapid-acting, short-acting, intermediate-acting, and long-acting. Each type of insulin works differently and is used for different purposes. Rapid-acting insulin is used to control blood sugar levels right after eating. Short-acting insulin is usually taken before meals to help control blood sugar levels throughout the day. Intermediate-acting insulin is used to maintain blood sugar levels between meals and overnight. Long-acting insulin is used to maintain a consistent level of insulin in the blood throughout the day and night.
Insulin is indicated for people with type 2 diabetes when other medications and lifestyle changes have not been effective at managing their blood glucose levels. It is important to note that insulin should not be used as a first-line treatment for type 2 diabetes. There are four main types of insulin and each type works differently and is used for different purposes.
If you have type 2 diabetes and are considering taking insulin, it is important to speak to your healthcare provider to discuss the risks and benefits and to make sure that it is the right treatment option for you.