Why do we need Insulin?

Why do we need Insulin?

Insulin Test
Insulin Test

When you eat a meal, the carbohydrate (starch, sugar or glucose) is absorbed from your intestines. Sugar enters the blood stream and is delivered to your liver. Normally, the pancreas simultaneously secretes insulin which is also delivered to your liver.

Insulin acts like a key to the gas cap of a car. It opens the cap to most of the cells in your body and allows the glucose to enter, to be stored and to be used as energy. In your liver insulin allows the storage of glucose as glycogen. Insulin also enters the general blood stream and is delivered to the cells in your body where it allows entry of glucose into the cells in your muscle, skin, and fatty tissues. The presence of glucose into the cells is the fuel for their normal function. When glucose enters the cells, your blood glucose concentration decreases. Therefore, insulin makes your blood sugar lower. Insulin also prevents the release of fat from the fat cells and glucose from the liver cells. If you lack insulin, the absorbed carbohydrate from your meal is not stored in your liver, but rather enters your bloodstream producing an abnormally high blood sugar. The cells and organs in the rest of your body are also unable to allow entry of sugar.

Lack of insulin causes your blood sugar to rise or increase. When the blood sugar exceeds (is more than) 180 mg/dl you begin to urinate frequently and get thirsty. Since no sugar (fuel) is entering your cells, you begin to feel run down and tired. If this continues your body turns to fat for fuel. A large amount of ketone bodies can make you sick to your stomach and cause even more urination. Finally you can get so sick that you begin to breathe heavily and lose you r ability to talk and stay awake. At this point diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is present and can lead to death if untreated or treated long after its onset.

When did you last have a complete health check up done? If you are above the age of 25 years and have a family history of Diabetes, I recommend you get one done immediately. Remember precaution is always better than cure.

Sanjana M Shenoy is a A dietitian from Mangalore, Karnataka, India. Having worked as a Dietitian for the Manipal Group of Hospitals namely KMC hospital Mangalore, India. She is also a consultant for corporate's like Infosys and others, conducting talks and presentations for various associations and local television shows. She consults at her Diet and Nutrition clinic "Nutrihealth" in Mangalore. Also is a visiting consultant to various hospitals in and around Mangalore and also runs an active online consultation.

2 Replies to “Why do we need Insulin?”

  1. Hi Doctor,

    Your articles are very interesting and helpful. Thanks and keep up the good work.

    I have a question to ask. I recently went (2 weeks ago) for health check up and found that I had very high blood sugar levels i.e. 421 in fasting. I am on exemet 500mg medication and have reduced sugar levels to 206 in two weeks. Is this drop in levels a good indication or do I need to look for more options. I am not using insulin yet. Could you please advice some change in diets? My age is 26 yrs.

    Thanks once again.


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