OVERVIEW & FACTS
Insulin is a hormone made in your pancreas, a gland located behind your stomach. Its two main functions are:
Insulin as treatment for diabetes
Injections of insulin as a replacement or supplement to your body’s insulin can help treat both types of diabetes. People with type 1 diabetes can’t make insulin so they must use insulin to control their blood glucose levels. Insulin is also needed by people with type 2 diabetes to control their blood glucose levels in case that other treatments failed, like change in lifestyle or oral medications.
TYPES & SYMPTOMS
The makeup of different types of insulin affects how fast and how long they work to help mimic the natural increases and decreases of insulin levels throughout the body during the day.
Insulin reaction may happen when you take insulin. It may cause hypoglycemia or too low blood glucose levels. This happens if you exercise too much or don’t eat enough. In that case, you need to balance the insulin that you give yourself with food or calories. Symptoms of insulin reactions include:
To stop the effects of an insulin reaction, carry at least 15 grams of a fast-acting carbohydrate with you at all times. That’s about equal to any of the following:
Ask your doctor about a special pen called a glucagon pen to help resolve an insulin reaction.
ADMINISTRATION AND DOSAGE
You must inject insulin with a syringe, insulin pen, or insulin pump because you can’t take it by mouth. The type of insulin injection you use will be based on your personal preference, health needs, and insurance coverage.
You can inject the insulin under the skin in many different parts of your body, such as your thigh, buttocks, upper arm, and abdomen. Don’t inject insulin within two inches of your belly button, though — your body won’t absorb it as well. You should vary the location of injections to prevent the thickening of your skin from constant insulin exposure.
Insulin helps keep your blood glucose level within a healthy range so used it appropriately. Healthy blood glucose levels help reduce the risk of diabetes complications, such as blindness and the loss of limbs. If you have diabetes, it’s important that you monitor your blood glucose level regularly. You should also make lifestyle changes to prevent your blood glucose level from getting too high. And of course, talk to your doctor about how you can make your treatment with insulin as effective as possible.
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