What Is Insulin?


It is said that insulin is the key to maintaining blood sugar balance.

The human body needs energy to function properly. This energy is derived from sugar. The food we take, mainly in the form of carbohydrates are broken down into sugar. However, the human body cells cannot utilize this sugar directly. This function is carried out by the pancreas. This gland releases the insulin hormone that facilitates the use of sugar. In addition, insulin plays a vital role in maintaining a blood sugar balance by preventing hypoglycemia (well below range) and hyperglycemia (well above range).

So, how exactly does the pancreas accomplish all these tasks?

After food intake, when the blood sugar level rises, the beta cells of the pancreas release insulin. Insulin then helps the cell to absorb the blood glucose. For this reason, insulin is referred to as a “key” that allows blood sugar entry to human cells.

It happens, at any moment, that your body may have an excess amount of sugar. Insulin will store some in the liver. If you have not eaten in a while and your body needs energy, insulin will facilitate the release of this stored sugar into your blood. If the insulin level in your body falls, it will result in higher blood sugar levels at all times. This condition is referred to as diabetes in medical terms.

There are two types of diabetes: 

Type 1: People affected with this variety have inadequate levels of insulin due to damage to the Beta cells of the pancreas. This is treated with insulin injections.

Type 2: This category of people are insulin resistant. They are treated with oral insulin or insulin injections. Lifestyle changes like a healthy diet and exercise are also recommended to keep this condition in check. This category of people is likely to need insulin as this condition is progressive.

Main Types of Insulin On the Market

Long-Acting Insulin: This variety of drugs work after a few hours from when it is injected into the bloodstream. The effect of these insulin medications lasts for nearly the entire day. This is used once or twice a day.

Intermediate-Acting Insulin: This variety of insulin has a peak time of 4-8 hours and is used in conjunction with rapid action insulin. It can be taken twice a day or as prescribed by the attending doctor.

Short-Acting Insulin: This variety starts working half an hour of entry within the bloodstream. Peak time is between 2-3 hours and working duration is approximately 6 hours. This is used in addition to long-lasting insulin. This is taken before a meal.

Rapid Action Insulin: This functions within 15 minutes and works for a duration of 1-2 hours. This variety, like the short-acting insulin, is also taken before a meal and is always complemented with long-acting insulin.

Insulin delivery mechanism varies from insulin pumps to the more common insulin injections. The doctor is the best person to determine the type of insulin you might need and the delivery mechanism most suited for you.

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