Inside the pancreas, beta cells make the hormone insulin. With each meal, beta cells release insulin to help the body use or store the glucose it gets from food.
Insulin is prescribed to people with type 1 diabetes. This is because type 1 diabetes destroys beta cells in the pancreas, meaning that the body can no longer produce insulin.
People with type 2 diabetes make insulin, but their bodies don’t respond well to it. Some people with type 2 diabetes may take pills or insulin shots to help their bodies use glucose for energy.
What you should know about insulin
This section covers everything to do with insulin – insulin types, prescription, delivery, side effects, insulin pumps, over-dosage, lancets and more.
When was insulin first discovered?
It wasn’t until 1921 that insulin was physically extracted. This was done by a team from the University of Toronto which included Frederick Banting and J Macleod, who were given the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1923.
How many types of insulin are there?
There are 4 types of insulin, based on how soon the insulin starts working (onset), when it works the hardest (peak time) and how long it lasts in your body (duration). However, each person responds to insulin in his or her own way.
That is why onset, peak time, and duration are given as ranges. The types of insulin are:
- Rapid-acting insulin (Lispro) reaches the blood within 15 minutes after injection. It peaks 30 to 90 minutes later and may last as long as 5 hours.
- Short-acting (regular) insulin usually reaches the blood within 30 minutes after injection. It peaks 2 to 4 hours later and stays in the blood for about 4 to 8 hours.
- Intermediate acting (NPH and lente) insulins reach the blood 2 to 6 hours after injection. They peak 4 to 14 hours later and stay in the blood for about 14 to 20 hours.
- Long acting (ultralente) insulin takes 6 to 14 hours to start working. It has no peak or a very small peak 10 to 16 hours after injection. It stays in the blood between 20 and 24 hours.
Some insulins come mixed together. For example, you can buy regular and NPH insulins already mixed in one bottle. They make it easier to inject two kinds of insulin at the same time.
However, you can’t adjust the amount of one insulin without also changing how much you get of the other insulin.
Strengths of insulin
Insulins come dissolved in liquids at different strengths. Most people use U-100 insulin. This means it has 100 units of insulin per milliliter (ml) of fluid. Be sure that the syringe you use matches the insulin strength.
U-100 insulin needs a U-100 syringe. In Europe and Latin America, U-40 insulin is also used. If you’re outside the United States, be certain to match your insulin strength with the correct size syringe.
Storage and safety of insulin
There are some general rules you should follow when it comes to the storage and usage of insulin:
- Using cold insulin can make your shot more painful.
- You can warm an insulin bottle by gently rolling it between your hands before you fill your syringe.
- If you buy more than one bottle of insulin at a time, store the extra bottles in the refrigerator until you start to use them.
- Never store insulin at very cold or very hot temperatures as extreme temperatures destroy insulin.
- Do not put your insulin in the freezer or in direct sunlight.
- Insulin may lose some potency if the bottle has been opened for more than 30 days.
- Look at the bottle closely to make sure the insulin looks ‘normal’. For example, if you use regular insulin, it should be perfectly clear – no floating pieces or color.
- Do not use insulin past the expiration date.
Treating and managing diabetes is difficult enough without the added pain of pinprick blood monitoring and painful insulin injections.
The number of times a diabetic has to test blood sugar levels and administer insulin depends on their individual diabetic situation.
Although diabetes cures and permanent treatments are on the horizon, for the moment accurate and diligent prevention strategies are the key to managing diabetes successfully.
Two areas in particular cause diabetics pain – administering insulin and monitoring the blood.
Many diabetics dislike injecting insulin, and choose any route possible to avoid insulin injections. Insulin pumps offer one alternative to daily injections for type 1 diabetics and those type 2 diabetics that require insulin.
Inhaled insulin is another alternative for diabetics who hate insulin injections, or are allergic to them.
Inhaled insulin is currently rare, but it is available in some countries.
Concerns exist over the influence of inhaled insulin on the lungs, so diabetics seeking this form of insulin should get advice from a healthcare professional.
Blood glucose monitoring
Another painful aspect of diabetes is the finger pinpricks to test blood sugar levels.
We get a lot of questions on effective Diabetes Management and Preventive Care. Many people are anxious about their invincible blood sugar levels and are depressed that they cannot eat their favourite foods or engage in their favourite activities. How to tackle blood sugar is the real question when it comes to diabetes management.
Diabetes Management: Diet Control
Diet plays a major role in controlling your blood sugar. Surprisingly, there is no special diet for the diabetics. Diabetics can eat all natural and whole foods including whole grains, fruits and vegetables. It is, however, advisable to get Glycemic Index for food so that they can avoid high glycemic foods like white flour, sugars, puffs and flakes, potatoes and more. In carbohydrates, concentrating on complex carbohydrates (whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes) could change life dramatically. They are fibrous and get absorbed slower than refined carbs and hence have a lesser effect on blood sugar. Many people believe that carbs are bad while proteins are good. The truth is, you need them both. Unfortunately, protein rich foods contain a lot of saturated fat too. For diabetes management purposes, aim for lean proteins like soy, chicken, sea food or beans. A diabetic diet should have 15% to 20% of proteins out of the total calories in a day.
Diabetes Management: Physical Activity
Diabetics can find relief through daily physical activity. At least 30 minutes of activity is a must. However, next to doctor’s permission, what you need to keep in mind is hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)which could happen with strenuous physical activity. In order to avoid this, a diabetes management that some people do is to snack before exercise or carry a sugar drink with them. Also, weight loss can help a great deal in bringing the unhappy figures down.
Diabetes Management: Sleeping Habits
Poor sleep and diabetes are long time friends. Sleep hikes blood sugar thus: Those who lack quality sleep at night eat more to keep up their energy levels. This will increase their sugar level. If you do not eat well, then you sleep less and again, the cycle is affected. Lack of sleep is also linked to obesity and weight gain. If you have diabetes and have disturbed sleep, that’s not surprising either. For diabetes management, restrict caffeine and alcohol intake, avoid heavy dinner, exercise and take warm bath before bed time to improve sleep. A healthy snack before bed time with a consistent routine is very helpful.
Diabetes Management: Stress
If you have been doing everything on the diabetes management and preventive care and see no results, blame it on stress! Stress is a villain and it creates havoc in your bloodstream. When you are under stress, it makes the body work harder to cope better by causing the “flight response”. As the body gets ready to fight it takes up the stored fat to produce the energy. for flight or fight. Since there is a lack of insulin in the Diabetic, the blood glucose released is not controlled. For stress management, meditation and yoga are very beneficial.
Some Natural Ayurvedic Remedies For Diabetes Management
Some natural ayurvedic remedies for Diabetes management are mentioned below. No advice is good advice for all. So what worked for your friend may not work for you. These diabetes management natural ayurvedic remedies are not meant to replace your drugs. Also, one thing to keep in mind is that home remedies may cause a sudden fall in the blood sugar level.
*Cinnamon – This spice has great blood sugar regulating properties. Add powdered cinnamon to your curry or beverage.
*Fenugreek Tea – It is very effectively used by some people. Boil fenugreek seeds in water, simmer, strain and drink daily.
*Black beans- Throw in salads and curries.
*Fig Leaves – Fig leaves are to be boiled in water for some time until its essence seeps in. This fig tea can be take first thing in the morning.
*Black Seed Oil – A teaspoon of oil extracted from black seed or black cumin seed everyday is claimed to be promising remedy for Diabetes Type II.
*Indian Gooseberry – A tablespoon of gooseberry juice mixed with a cup of bitter gourd juice taken daily should help those watch diet and exercise. Boiled gooseberry (ideally without salt) can also be consumed daily.
*Saptarangi – A herbal remedy for Diabetes is Saptarangi or Salacia-Oblonga which helps to treat Diabetes Type II.