Beta Cells within the pancreas make the hormone insulin. Insulin is needed by the body to help use or store blood glucose which is received from the foods we eat.
People suffering from Type 1 diabetes, also called insulin-dependent diabetes produce very little insulin or no insulin at all. An auto-immune reaction which causes the body’s defense system to attack the Beta Cells (insulin producing cells) is the culprit. A person suffering from this form of diabetes must have access to insulin or they will die.
The types of insulin used to manage Type 1 diabetes depends on the levels of sugar in the blood. Typically, three to four injections with different types of insulin are given daily. This assures the best blood glucose control.This form of diabetes is characterized by relative insulin deficiency (hypo-insulinism) and insulin resistance, which is when the natural form of insulin becomes less effective at lowering blood glucose levels. This means that a person’s body who has this form of diabetes actually makes insulin, it is just that their bodies just do not respond well to it. They require diabetes pills and/or insulin shots in order to help their bodies use glucose for energy.
Insulin has three main characteristics. “Onset” being the length of time that it takes for the insulin to reach the blood and begin to lower a diabetic’s blood sugar level is the first. The next characteristic of insulin is the “peak,” meaning the time that the insulin is most effective. Finally, there is the “duration” which means the amount of time that the insulin is effective at lowering a diabetic’s blood sugar levels.
There are four different types of insulin available for diabetics. The first type being rapid acting, which typically begins to work within five minutes of an injection and continues to work for about two to four hours. The second type of insulin is regular ( short acting), which typically begins to work within thirty minutes of an injection and continues for about three to six hours. The next form of insulin is intermediate acting, which begins to work two to four hours of an injection and normally continues for about twelve to eighteen hours. The last type of insulin is long acting, which typically reaches the blood within six to ten hours of an injection and works for twenty to twenty four hours.
There are different methods available for delivery of insulin to the body which we will be covering in our next post.
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