Insulin 101: What You Need to Know

Let’s get back to the basics. Per the American Diabetes Association, insulin is a naturally occurring hormone secreted by the pancreas. Many people with type 1 diabetes are prescribed insulin because their bodies do not produce insulin, and insulin can be necessary for people with type 2 diabetes because their bodies do not use insulin properly.

What are the routines?

An insulin syringe is the most common form of insulin delivery, however, insulin pumps, insulin pens, and intravenous insulin are other options for insulin to be injected into the body.

What are the insulin therapies for type 1 and type 2 diabetes?

People with type 1 diabetes usually have three or four injections of insulin a day depending on their blood glucose levels. Three to four injections of insulin a day give the best blood glucose control and prevent the eye, kidney, and liver damage associated with diabetes. People with type 2 diabetes may only need one injection of insulin a day. People with type 2 diabetes may progress to three or four injections of insulin.

The following affects blood glucose levels: diet, exercise, timing of insulin injection, illness, and stress.

What are the types of insulin therapy?

The following are options for which many people use to dose insulin: subcutaneous with a syringe, insulin pens, insulin pumps, and intravenous with an IV.

What happens if a patient receives too much insulin?

In patients receiving intensive insulin therapy, there is an increased risk of hypoglycemia. The cause of hypoglycemia could be attributed to too much insulin, inadequate food intake when dosing insulin, or exercise without the proper adjustment of insulin.

Is there treatment for hypoglycemia?

The best treatment of hypoglycemia is prevention. Patients with diabetes should become familiar with signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia and should monitor blood glucose regularly. If unexplained or recurrent hypoglycemia occurs, the healthcare provider should be contacted immediately.