Insulin – Facts, Effects and When To Take Your Next Dose

Insulin – Facts, Effects and When To Take Your Next Dose

insulin Pen

Insulin is a hormone that is produced by the pancreas and is required for maintaining sugar levels in the body,  people with type 1 diabetes the pancreas does not produce insulin. And in type 2 diabetes insulin does not work as it  nornally should . The amount of insulin produced by the pancreas may also be less.

How is Insulin obtained ?

Earlier, insulin was sourced from slaughter houses. That is from the pancreas of dead animals. Now, Insulin can be synthesised in the laboratories by sophisticated technologies ( recombinant DNA) .

Who needs Insulin?

In type 1 diabetes , Insulin is a must for living.  In type 2 diabetes, doctors advice Insulin in certain situations like pregnancy, during and after surgery, severe infection and when patients are not able to eat. When tablets do not work, one needs insulin for diabetic control.

Is Insulin the best option for people with type 2 diabetes  ?

There are several advantages of insulin. Recent research indicates that use of insulin from the beginning or at least for some time at the beginning, it not only helps in controlling diabetes better, but also maintains  pancreatic function in the long run.

How many times a day do one need to take insulin ?

This depends on the insulin regimen your doctor advises. There are several regimens doctors use. The best regimen is to use three short acting insulin before main meals and a longer acting insulin at bed time to take you through the night. The problem of this regimen is that you need to take four  injections a day. Now, we have insulin available in  a mixed form which can be injected two times a day. , before breakfast and before dinner. If one is on a combination of insulin and tablets , one can manage with one injection a day. In that case the best time to take insulin is before dinner, not before breakfast. Longer acting insulin is available which works for 24 hours.

What is the best time to take Insulin?

The best time to take ordinary insulin is 30 minutes before food, so the level of insulin and sugar in the blood after food intake matches . But in case you have eaten already, it is better to take the injection immediately after, rather than not taking.

A new but costly insulin is available ( Aspart,Lispro ), which can be injected immediately before food, i.e if you do not need a time span as it works faster than ordinary insulin.

Should I go to a doctor or a nurse to inject insulin?

You can inject it yourself. There is always a fear initially , but everybody manages well once they learn.

Insulin injection is less painful when you inject yourself rather than a doctor or a nurse doing it.

Are there any side effects of Insulin?
Insulin is a natural hormone, so side effects are not expected. Sometimes there will be some skin allergy with animal insulin, but this is rare.
There is a chance of little gain in weight, mostly due to better control. ( You lose weight when sugar is uncontrolled and you gain your  lost weight back when your control improves).

Low sugar ( Hypo) can occur and that is mainly due to mismatch or miscalculation of diet and insulin.

Can I take insulin in some form other than Injection?

The world  is still waiting for the day when insulin can be given without an injection. It is encouraging that plenty of research is on the pipeline to find out if an insulin delivery system without injection will be available. But for now, it is only injections.

Which insulin is better, animal or human?

Two types of animal insulins are available, one is bovine and the other is porcine. They have slight structural difference with human insulin. So far as the efficacy is concerned , there is little difference. Allergy to human insulin is very rare,  but can happen with animal insulin. Animal insulin is cheaper in comparison to human insulin.

What happens if I miss an insulin injection?

Try as best as you can, not to forget your dose, because it alters your control very much which is in fact not very good. If you have an access to check sugar either in lab or by pricking your finger, please do, so that you know where you  actually stand and take appropriate step in consultation with your doctor.

Apart from the Insulin treatment for diabetes which is a chronic disease resisting cure, there are many new treatments which have gone a long way in diabetes management.  A few of them are given below.
  1. Byetta( Exenatide)
  2. Liraglutide
  3. Januvia(Sitagliptin) and Galvus(Vildagliptin)
  4. Buccal sprays(Oral Recosulin)
  5. Insulin pumps

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2 Replies to “Insulin – Facts, Effects and When To Take Your Next Dose”

  1. Sanjana,

    Diabetes is on the increase and insulin injections only mask the sugar problem with continued damage to the body. Could you formulate a diet to reverse type 2 diabetes. This will help a lot of people (who wish to be cured) and free them from the bondage of insulin injections.

    Thanking you..

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