If a patient has type 1 diabetes, he needs to use insulin – an injection of a hormone that is produced in healthy people in the pancreas in response to food stimuli. But on the background of diabetes mellitus, the patient’s body does not synthesize its insulin due to the death of hormone-producing cells. Some people with type 2 diabetes also use insulin while at the same time adjusting nutrition. How does this substance work?
The role of insulin in the disease
According to statistics, among all adults suffering from diabetes, about 30% use insulin. Modern doctors recognize the importance of full control over blood sugar levels, so they began to fluctuate less often and more often inject insulin to their patients.
Insulin helps the body absorb and use for its intended purpose glucose derived from carbohydrates received from food. After a person has eaten carbohydrate foods or drank a sweet drink, blood sugar levels begin to rise. In response, beta cells in the pancreas receive signals about the need for insulin secretion in the blood plasma.
The role of the pancreas, insulin synthesis
The work of insulin produced by the pancreas can be described as a taxi service. Since glucose cannot directly enter the cells, it needs a driver (insulin) to deliver it there. When the pancreas produces enough insulin to deliver glucose, sugar in the blood naturally decreases after eating, while the cells of the body are “refueled” with glucose and are actively working. According to experts, there is another way to explain the work of insulin: it is the key that opens up the access of glucose to the cells of the body. If the pancreas due to various influences does not cope with the synthesis of sufficient volume insulin, or the cells become resistant to its usual quantities, it may be necessary to introduce it from outside to stabilize blood sugar.
Diabetes Treatment: Injectable Insulin
Today diabetes mellitus, which is called insulin-dependent , is treated by insulin injections. At the moment there are many different types of insulin in the world. They differ in how quickly they work, when they reach peak concentration, and how long their effect lasts. Here are some examples:
- High-speed drug starts to work within 15-30 minutes, but its effect lasts no more than 3-4 hours;
- Regular insulin or a short-acting drug starts working for 30-60 minutes, the effect can last up to five to eight hours.
- The drug of intermediate action begins its work within about two hours, reaching peak activity after about four hours.
- Long acting insulin starts working for an hour after administration, the effect will last up to 24 hours.
- Super long- acting insulin begins to work for an hour after administration, its effect can last up to two days.
There are also combination medications that combine intermediate-acting medication with a dose of regular insulin, or a mixture of intermediate and fast-acting insulin.
Control blood sugar through drugs
The standard practice is for patients with diabetes to use basal insulin once a day, and this may be a prolonged or long – lasting drug. Fast-acting insulin is usually added thrice a day with a meal. The amount of a fast-acting drug may depend on the level of sugar in the blood and the amount of carbohydrates in the diet used.
However, the use of insulin for each patient with diabetes mellitus will be different. For example, if blood sugar is high even after a long fast, a long-acting drug will be helpful. If fasting blood sugar is quite normal, but it rises sharply after a meal, then a fast-acting drug will be more appropriate.
The patient, together with the doctor, should analyze the dynamics of changes in blood sugar to determine the time of insulin administration and its dose, controlling:
- when it lowers blood glucose levels;
- its peak time (when the effect of the drug is maximal);
- duration of effect (how long the drug continues to lower blood sugar levels).
Based on these data, the correct type of insulin is selected.
The combination of insulin with nutrition, nuances of use
It is also important for the physician to know about the lifestyle of a person, to evaluate his usual diet, in order to select the necessary insulin preparations.
Unlike other drugs, which are often in the form of tablets, insulin is injected in the form of injections. It can not be taken as a pill, because the hormone will be broken down by enzymes during digestion, like any other food. It must be injected into the plasma in order for the drug to work in much the same way as the natural insulin produced in the body. However, inhalation insulin was recently approved. In people with type 1 diabetes, this new form should be used with long-acting insulin and correlated with food intake. In addition, inhaled insulin cannot be used by a person with asthma or COPD.
There are also people who use an insulin pump, it can supply insulin stably, continuously in a basic dose, or in an increased single dose when a person takes nutrition. Some people with diabetes prefer insulin pumps rather than injections.
Injections and problems
Many people need to use insulin injections, and this can cause fear of needles or self-injection. But modern injection devices are quite small, like automatic pens, and the needles are very thin. The patient quickly learns to make injections.
One of the important components of using insulin is getting the right dose. If it is large, low blood sugar or hypoglycemia may develop . This is likely if the insulin dose exceeds the required dose, is taken after skipping meals, or if combined with oral hypoglycemic drugs without dose adjustment.