What is Insulins
Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that allows cells to utilize glucose (sugar) from the bloodstream for energy. Here are some key facts about insulin:
Insulin is produced by beta cells in the pancreas and released when blood glucose levels rise, such as after eating a meal.
It enables cells in the liver, muscles and fat tissue to take up glucose from the blood and store it as glycogen or use it for energy.
Insulin lowers high blood glucose levels by facilitating the transport of sugar into the body’s cells. It also inhibits the production of new glucose by the liver.
People with diabetes don’t make enough insulin (type 1 diabetes) or can’t use insulin efficiently (type 2 diabetes). They take insulin to regulate blood sugar levels.
Therapeutic insulins are synthetically manufactured to mimic the effects of natural insulin. They come in rapid-acting, short-acting, intermediate-acting and long-acting versions.
Common insulin brands include Novolog, Humalog, Novolin, Levemir, Lantus and Basaglar. Insulin delivery methods include vials, pens and pumps.
Proper insulin dosing, administration, diet and glucose monitoring are important to achieve optimal blood sugar control and prevent low or high blood sugar episodes.
Insulin therapy is essential for managing both type 1 and advanced type 2 diabetes. When used appropriately under medical supervision, it is very effective and safe.
Let me know if you need any clarification or have additional questions about what insulin is and how it is used to treat diabetes!
Benefits Of Insulins
Insulin therapy provides significant benefits for the management of diabetes by lowering blood glucose levels. Some of the key benefits include:
Improves blood sugar control – Insulin is the most effective medication for lowering high blood glucose levels into a healthy target range. This provides overall diabetes control.
Prevents diabetic complications – Maintaining good glycemic control via insulin therapy can prevent or delay long-term complications like kidney disease, nerve damage, vision loss, stroke and heart disease.
Provides flexibility in lifestyle – With the ability to match insulin dosing to food intake and activity, patients can have more flexibility with meals, exercise, travel, etc.
Treats diabetic ketoacidosis – Insulin is life-saving in treating diabetic ketoacidosis, a dangerous buildup of ketones and metabolic acidosis due to very high blood sugars.
Alternative delivery options – Insulin can be administered by syringe, pen or pump for convenience and adherence.
Fewer GI side effects – Unlike some oral diabetes medications, insulin does not cause gastrointestinal issues or discomfort when taken.
Essential for type 1 diabetes – For type 1 diabetics who don’t make their own insulin, exogenous insulin is the only medication that can effectively lower blood glucose.
Works when other medications fail – Insulin may be needed when oral medications are no longer effective enough in progressive type 2 diabetes.
Pregnancy safety – Insulin has an established safety profile for controlling blood sugars throughout pregnancy, protecting maternal and fetal health.
Let me know if you have any other questions!
Uses Of Insulins
Insulin is used for the following purposes:
Type 1 diabetes – Insulin is essential for people with type 1 diabetes, as their pancreas cannot produce insulin. It replaces what their body cannot make.
Type 2 diabetes – Many people with type 2 diabetes eventually require insulin therapy when oral medications are no longer sufficient for blood sugar control.
Gestational diabetes – Pregnant women may use insulin to treat gestational diabetes and prevent complications during pregnancy.
Diabetic ketoacidosis – Insulin is the primary treatment for diabetic ketoacidosis, along with fluids and electrolytes.
Hyperkalemia – Insulin can help lower dangerously high levels of potassium in the blood (hyperkalemia).
Hypercalcemia – Insulin may be used to treat high calcium levels along with intravenous fluids.
Glucagon overdose – Insulin counters the effects of glucagon overdose.
Cardiac surgery – Insulin is often used to control blood glucose levels during and after cardiac surgery.
Selected oral agent failure – Insulin may be added when specific oral type 2 diabetes medications are not enough to reach blood glucose targets.
Hospital hyperglycemia management – Insulin is used to control elevated blood glucose in critically ill or hospitalized patients.
The main uses focus on treating diabetes, but insulin has applications for hyperglycemia management in other critical care situations as well. It is a very versatile medication.
How to Use Insulins
Here are some tips on how to properly use and administer insulin:
Inject insulin subcutaneously (under the skin) using syringes, insulin pens, or insulin pumps. Common injection sites include the abdomen, thighs, upper arms, and buttocks.
Rotate injection sites within a body region to prevent lipodystrophy (fat buildup or thinning under the skin).
Insulin comes in rapid-acting (takes effect in 15-30 minutes), short-acting (30-60 minutes), intermediate-acting (2-4 hours), and long-acting (3-24 hours) types.
Match the type of insulin to your needs based on timing of doses, effects on blood sugar, and your doctor’s recommendations.
Store unopened insulin in the refrigerator until first use. After opening, store at room temperature below 86°F for 28-42 days depending on type.
Check insulin before injecting. Cloudy insulins need gentle rolling, not shaking. Inspect for changes in appearance or clumping.
Do not reuse or share needles, pens, or syringes due to infection risk. Properly dispose of all sharps immediately after use.
Administer insulin at consistent times every day when possible to maintain steady coverage and effects.
Rotate injection sites to allow areas to fully heal and prevent scarring or lipohypertrophy.
Monitor blood glucose levels regularly to assess if insulin doses need adjustment. Work closely with your healthcare provider.
Let me know if you have any other questions! Proper insulin use and administration is very important for diabetes management.
Effects Of Insulins
Here are some of the key effects that therapeutic insulins have in the body:
Lower blood glucose – The primary effect of insulin is to lower elevated blood glucose levels by enabling cells to uptake and utilize glucose.
Increase glucose uptake – Insulin binds to receptors on cells, triggering the translocation of GLUT4 transporters to the cell surface to allow glucose to enter from the bloodstream.
Suppresses glucose production – Insulin signals the liver to stop producing new glucose via gluconeogenesis and glycogenolysis when blood levels are adequate.
Facilitate glucose storage – Insulin stimulates the conversion of glucose to glycogen for storage in liver and muscle cells.
Inhibit lipolysis – Insulin prevents the breakdown of fat for energy (lipolysis), decreasing free fatty acids in circulation.
Suppress ketogenesis – By reducing lipolysis, insulin lowers ketone body formation by the liver which can cause ketoacidosis.
Increase protein synthesis – Insulin promotes the uptake of amino acids into cells and enhances protein synthesis and muscle growth when nutrients are available.
Alter electrolyte balance – Insulin can cause potassium to shift from blood into cells, potentially causing hypokalemia.
Cause weight gain – The glucose lowering and metabolic effects of insulin can result in increased fat storage over time.
Hypoglycemia risk – Excessive insulin doses relative to food intake and activity can dangerously lower blood glucose.
Understanding these systemic effects helps optimize insulin dosing and highlights the importance of balancing food, activity, and medication.