Insulin is an important hormone needed by the body to regulate blood sugar levels. For people with diabetes, insulin is often prescribed as part of their treatment plan. But what exactly is insulin and when is it necessary for diabetes?
What Is Insulin?
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas. It helps the body store and use glucose from food for energy. In people with diabetes, the pancreas either doesn’t produce enough insulin or the body can’t use the insulin it produces effectively. This leads to elevated blood sugar levels.
When a person with diabetes has high blood sugar levels, the body can’t properly use the energy from food. Over time, this can result in serious health complications. That’s why it’s important to keep blood sugar levels within a normal range.
When Is Insulin Needed?
Insulin is needed when the body is unable to produce enough of its own insulin or when the body’s cells don’t respond to the insulin. This can be due to type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, or gestational diabetes. Additionally, it may be needed when other medications don’t effectively control blood sugar levels.
In some cases, lifestyle modifications such as diet and exercise can help keep blood sugar levels in a normal range. However, if lifestyle changes alone don’t work, taking insulin may be necessary. Additionally, insulin may be recommended for people with diabetes who are pregnant, have severe hypoglycemia, or who have certain medical conditions.
Types of Insulin
Insulin is available in a variety of forms. Short-acting insulin works quickly to lower blood sugar levels after a meal. Long-acting insulin helps keep blood sugar levels stable throughout the day. Some people with diabetes may need to use a combination of both short-acting and long-acting insulin.
Rapid-acting insulin works quickly and can be used to treat high blood sugar levels. It’s usually taken before meals. Pre-mixed insulin combines rapid-acting and long-acting insulin into one dose. It’s usually taken twice a day, before breakfast and dinner.
How to Take Insulin
Insulin is usually taken as an injection, either under the skin or into a muscle. Some people may also use an insulin pump, which is a device that continuously delivers insulin into the body. For some people, insulin may be taken as a pill, but this isn’t as effective as injections.
Risks of Taking Insulin
Taking insulin can help keep blood sugar levels in a normal range, but it can also cause side effects. Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, can occur if too much insulin is taken. This can cause symptoms such as shakiness, sweating, confusion, and dizziness. People who take insulin should monitor their blood sugar levels regularly.
In addition, taking insulin can cause weight gain and an increased risk of developing heart disease. People who take insulin should talk to their doctor about how to manage these risks. They may need to make changes to their diet and exercise plan.
Insulin is an important hormone for people with diabetes. In some cases, lifestyle changes may be enough to keep blood sugar levels in a normal range. But for some people, taking insulin may be necessary. Different types of insulin are available, and they can be taken as an injection or an insulin pump. Taking insulin can help keep blood sugar levels in a normal range, but it can also cause side effects.