Insulin is a peptide hormone produced by beta cells of the pancreatic islets; it is considered to be the main anabolic hormone of the body. It regulates the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and protein by promoting the absorption of glucose from the blood into liver, fat and skeletal muscle cells.
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Endocrinologist: What is Insulin and What it is Used For?
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Are there Multiple Ways to Take Insulin?
There are generally three main ways to take insulin. The first would be premixed insulin, where the product has already been mixed, perhaps short- and intermediate-acting insulins in the same vial; inject twice a day, usually breakfast and supper.
Another common way of doing it is to take a long-acting insulin once a day, often at bedtime, and still take your diabetes pills at mealtimes. And the third way, and perhaps the best for most people but the most work, is what’s called multiple daily injections, which would generally be one shot of long-acting insulin and then a short-acting shot at each meal.
It’s more work, but has a lot of benefit in terms of good control and flexibility of lifestyle. It’s important to discuss your particular situation with your pharmacist or health care provider in terms of how it impacts your health and may have an impact on other medications that you’re taking. Often seeing a Endocrinologist or local family physician in conjunction with a registered dietitian and athletic therapist is a great option to take control of this condition. Smart Food Now and exercise is also optominal for overall health.
Diabetes - Insulin Management and Potential Side Effects
In terms of side effects from insulin, insulin allergies do occur – very, very exquisitely rare. Mainly as a hormone, the side effects occur through overdose: too much, or too little. If you’re not getting enough insulin, your blood sugars are high. In the short term that may make you feel tired, fatigued, cause you to pee a lot, disturb your pee because you’re up peeing at night, and you’ll feel very lethargic and your muscles will cramp. Too much insulin causes a low blood sugar – hypoglycemia. And the symptoms of that depend on how severe it is. In a mild form, it may make you shake, you’ll feel your heart pounding, you’ll sweat, you’ll get a headache, you’ll feel hungry, when you eat food it will go away.
More severe low sugars can cause seizures or patients to go into a coma. So clinically, we like to prevent that as much as possible, and again it’s a coordination with how much you’re eating, when you’re exercising and the dose of insulin.
So in terms of trying to prevent low blood sugars or hypoglycemia as a side effect of insulin, the key fact is education. This is a disease that patients live with, day in and day out. And we as healthcare providers have hopefully provided you the knowledge – either by interacting with us, your pharmacist or a diabetes centre – that you have the knowledge how to balance food, exercise and insulin, and minimize the chance of having a low blood sugar.
And key in this is the ability to measure your own blood sugar with a blood glucose monitor by fingertip testing. The knowledge of how insulin works – in general and also in your personal situation – along with your knowledge and the ability to test your blood sugar, will allow patients with diabetes to get the very best result for themselves. Insulin.