Insulin therapy is a cornerstone of treatment in patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus and in many cases, also utilized in type 2 diabetes treatment.
About Insulin and types of insulin
Starting insulin can be challenging, and it is understandable if you feel concerned about it. When you start taking insulin, it is important that you keep in touch with your physician on a regular basis to help work out the right dose for you. It will take the time to adjust to using insulin injection and your new routine. Your physician as well your family and friends can provide the support you require.
Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas inside the abdomen. Special cells known as beta cells, located in a part of the pancreas make the insulin. In patients with type 1 diabetes, there is a loss of the cells which makes insulin. A majority of diabetes patients uses human insulin or insulin analogs. The human insulin is produced by bacteria or by yeast using genetic engineering.
The insulin in the body allows the sugar to pass from the blood into the cells, where it is burned for energy. The human body is not able to convert sugar into energy without insulin. Furthermore, insulin helps in turning off the making of sugar in the liver. In the absence of insulin, the sugar builds up in the blood and spills into the urine. Diabetic patients cannot make enough insulin. These patients required insulin injections to fulfill the need. Insulin has not been formulated for oral administration because the stomach acid destroys it.
No vitamins, herbs or medication can take the place of insulin injections. Patients with type 2 diabetes still make enough insulin, however, not sufficient to maintain the sugar level in the body. These patients can take oral medications or diabetes medications to help them make even more insulin or reduce the symptoms of diabetes. However, these oral medications are not insulin.
Many types of insulin can be used for diabetes care. The types of insulin are usually described by how they affect your body.
- Rapid acting-These insulins are clear in appearance. They act fast, starts to work from 1 to 20 minutes. While using these insulins, it is necessary to eat immediately after injecting it. Humalog, Apidra, and NovoRapid are some currently available fast acting insulins. Its effects last for a couple of hours.
- Intermediate-acting-They are cloudy in appearance. These insulins begin to work about 1 ½ hours after injecting. Before using this insulin, it is important that you read the prescription label carefully and follow the instructions on how to prepare the insulin. The effects of intermediate-acting insulin can last up to 18 hours.
- Short acting-These types of insulins start to lower sugar level within 30 minutes of injecting it. You need to take the injection half an before a meal. Its effects last for 3 to 6 hours.
- Long-acting insulin-Long-acting insulin is recommended to use once or twice a day. It is a clear insulin and cannot be mixed with other fast acting insulin. It can work for an entire day.
- Mixed insulin-Mixed insulin is also cloudy in appearance and allows two insulin types in a single injection, intermediate-acting insulin along with short acting insulin.
Tips for using insulin
Insulin should be injected into the fatty layer just below the skin and above the muscle. Patients are instructed to inject it into the abdomen. In some cases, physician prefers thighs or buttocks for injecting insulin. For more information talk to your physician.
While injecting insulin, keep the following things in mind:
- Use a fresh needle every time.
- Check the prescription label carefully to know about the dose of insulin.
- Prime the needle to remove air and start the flow of insulin. You need to do this whenever you take insulin injection.
- You need to insert the needle at a right angle that is 90 degrees unless advised otherwise by your physician.
- After inserting the needle into your skin, hold the needle for ten seconds to make sure you inject the full dose.
- If you are using an insulin pen, make sure that you remove the needle from the pen after each injection.