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Insulin

Insulin Syringe on Top of Spoon

What is Insulin?

Whether your insulin levels are normal, prediabetic, or diabetic it is important to know how insulin works and what it does.

Insulin Definition

Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas in response to the level of glucose in the blood.

Insulin is a long peptide hormone produced in the islets of Langerhans of the pancreas. Its main role is controlling the level of blood glucose and how the body uses the available glucose for energy.

When it is produced in inadequate amounts of if the body cannot use it then diabetes occurs.

What Does Insulin Do?

It helps the cells store use sugar for energy or store it for future use. It keeps the blood sugar level in control and keeps it from getting too high or too low.

The blood sugar in those who are not diabetic is tightly controlled in a healthy range due to an adequate and timely production of insulin in response to changes in blood glucose levels.

Insulin Injection

Insulin can be injected in one of several ways. This can be by use of syringes, jet injectors, insulin pumps, and insulin pens. With the help of a doctor, you can find the best way to administer the injection.

However, syringes remain the most common since they are the least expensive and are covered by most insurance companies.

Insulin Injection Sites

Insulin is injected 1-2 inches into the fat layer under the skin called the subcutaneous tissues. There are two ways of injecting insulin, the first is using a syringe and the other is by use of a pen into various sites including:

Abdomen

This is the most common site of insulin injection. Pinch the fatty tissue between the waist and hip bone on either side of the body. This site causes the least discomfort.

Upper Arms

The injection is placed at the back of the arm about halfway between your elbow and shoulder. This area requires help in administering and may be difficult to self-administer. It is easier to inject into the non-dominant arm.

Thighs

This site is easy for self-injection and requires you to inject on the front of the thigh between the hip and knees. This should slightly be towards the outside of the leg. When done regularly, this area can cause discomfort when running or walking.

Lower Back or Hips

Some people find the lower back or hip area as ideal for injecting insulin.this is however challenging if you want to self-administer.

How is Insulin Taken?

Insulin is typically taking through injection into the bloodstream. For those with diabetes it is a daily duty that is taken to help maintain proper blood sugar levels.

Insulin Pump

This is a small computerized device the size of a pager that delivers insulin into the fatty tissues of the body. It is a durable device that can serve you for years. The only parts that require regular change are the tubing, reservoir, and infusion set.

It is convenient to use and automates the process of insulin delivery, therefore, freeing your hands and time.

It delivers an automatic and continuous dose of insulin via thin tubing inserted under the skin. This device endeavors to simulator the pancreatic functions by delivering both basal and bolus insulin doses.

Medtronic Insulin Pump

Medtronic Diabetes, the manufacturers of MiniMed 630G have ensured diabetic patients get the best insulin delivery without having to worry about timing and overdosing. It features predictive alerts, a user-friendly menu and is available in at least 5 color options.

It offers users a color screen, waterproofing rated at IPX8, and new meter and accurate remote bolusing.

Insulin Syringes

A syringe used in insulin injections has three parts: a barrel, needle, and plunger. It has a short and thin needle covered with a thin silicon layer to help it pass easily through the skin with the least pain.

Its barrel is long and thin and is marked to help measure insulin units. And with the plunger, you can push the insulin through the needle into the body. The syringes come in different sizes.

Insulin Pen

An insulin pen aids in delivering insulin into the body faster and efficiently. It is composed of an insulin cartridge, a dial for measuring the dose, and disposable pen needles.

There are two pen types, a prefilled pen that is disposed of when the cartridge is empty and a durable one that uses a replaceable cartridge so you do not need to buy another pen every time.

Insulin Needles

Insulin pens use disposable needles that are available in various lengths for various body site injections. They are today thin, small and painless. Each user has a choice of between 12 to 14mm depending on the body size.

Types of Insulin

If you are diabetic you may be required to take different types of insulin for different portions of your day and meal plan. The subtle differences in the types of insulin is how quickly they begin to work in the body.

Intermediate Acting Insulin

These insulin types are complexed with a delaying substance to delay its absorption and extend its working action in the body. It starts working in 1-2 hours and works for between 12-18 hours.

It is commonly used for controlling blood sugar between meals. It is absorbed very slowly and lasts longer, hence its use in controlling blood glucose overnight, and between meals

NPH Insulin

Also known as isophane insulin, this is an intermediate-acting insulin for controlling blood glucose levels in diabetic patients. It is injected once or twice a day, has an onset of 90 minutes and lasts for 24 hours. Some versions come premixed with a short-acting insulin.

Neutral protamine Hagedorn (NPH) has been in use for almost 80 years as the preferred choice of long-acting insulin.

Long-Acting Insulin

This type takes up to 4 hours before it starts working. It can take up to 24 hours actively working in your system to lower blood sugar evenly, whereas Bovine protamine zinc insulin can take up to 36 hours.

It is absorbed slowly and features a minimal peak effect and a stable plateau lasting most of the day. Long-acting insulin is used for controlling blood glucose while fasting, overnight, and between meals.

Insulin Glargine

Marketed as Lantus, insulin glargine is a long-acting basal insulin taken once a day. It contains microcrystals that slow insulin release, hence the long working period of 18-26 hours. It has a peakless profile and efficiently controls serum glucose levels.

Short-Acting Insulin / Fast Acting Insulin

This type of insulin is usually taken before meals. It is also called neutral or regular insulin. It helps in blood glucose control after meals and is used in treating type 2 diabetes.

It reaches the bloodstream in about 30 minutes of administration and peaks in about three hours. This insulin type remains active for about 6 hours hence its use in controlling blood sugar during meals and snacks.

Insulin Aspart

This fast-acting insulin is a manufactured form of human insulin marketed by Novo Nordisk. It has just one amino acid in the chain changed to make it absorb faster into the bloodstream.

It begins working in just 15 minutes after being injected and will remain active in the bloodstream for about two to four hours. It is used for controlling blood glucose levels during meals and snack and helps in correcting high blood glucose levels for example in emergencies.

Novolog Insulin

This fast-acting insulin begins working in about 15 minutes and peaks in 1 hour. It continues to work for 2 to 4 hours. It is sometimes used together with long-acting insulin in controlling glucose levels in the blood.

Common Brands

Insulin lispro

This is rapid-acting insulin produced by recombinant DNA technology. It slightly differs from human insulin in two amino acid positions.

Lantus Insulin

This man-made insulin is a long-acting insulin that starts working several hours after administration and will work for the next 24 hours. It is used in treating types 1 and 2 diabetes in adults and type 1 in children above 6 years.

Humalog Insulin

It is a fast-acting insulin that begins working in just 15 minutes after administration and keeps working for the next 2-4 hours. It treats type 1 and 2 diabetes in adult and type 1 diabetes children of at least 3 years.

Insulin Detemir

Marketed under the Levemir brand, this type of insulin is a sterile solution with a long-acting performance of up to 24 hours. It is produced by a recombinant DNA technology on Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

Basal insulin

This regime involves taking several injections through the day. It involves injecting insulin at each meal in an attempt to emulate the pancreatic function in a nondiabetic person.

Insulin resistance diet

Insulin Side Effects

  • Irritability
  • Blurry Vision
  • Weight Gain
  • Rapid Heartbeat
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Lipohypertrophy
  • Local or Systemic Hypersensitivity
  • Micro And Macrovascular Diseases
  • Diabetic Ketoacidosis
  • Gastrointestinal Distress

Insulin Injection

Insulin can be injected in one of several ways. This can be by use of syringes, jet injectors, insulin pumps, and insulin pens. With the help of a doctor, you can find the best way to administer the injection.

However, syringes remain the most common since they are the least expensive and are covered by most insurance companies.

Insulin Injection Sites

Insulin is injected 1-2 inches into the fat layer under the skin called the subcutaneous tissues. There are two ways of injecting insulin, the first is using a syringe and the other is by use of a pen into various sites including:

Abdomen

This is the most common site of insulin injection. Pinch the fatty tissue between the waist and hip bone on either side of the body. This site causes the least discomfort.

Upper Arms

The injection is placed at the back of the arm about halfway between your elbow and shoulder. This area requires help in administering and may be difficult to self-administer. It is easier to inject into the non-dominant arm.

Thighs

This site is easy for self-injection and requires you to inject on the front of the thigh between the hip and knees. This should slightly be towards the outside of the leg. When done regularly, this area can cause discomfort when running or walking.

Lower Back or Hips

Some people find the lower back or hip area as ideal for injecting insulin.this is however challenging if you want to self-administer.

How is Insulin Taken?

Insulin is typically taking through injection into the bloodstream. For those with diabetes it is a daily duty that is taken to help maintain proper blood sugar levels.

Insulin Pump

This is a small computerized device the size of a pager that delivers insulin into the fatty tissues of the body. It is a durable device that can serve you for years. The only parts that require regular change are the tubing, reservoir, and infusion set.

It is convenient to use and automates the process of insulin delivery, therefore, freeing your hands and time.

It delivers an automatic and continuous dose of insulin via thin tubing inserted under the skin. This device endeavors to simulator the pancreatic functions by delivering both basal and bolus insulin doses.

Medtronic Insulin Pump

Medtronic Diabetes, the manufacturers of MiniMed 630G have ensured diabetic patients get the best insulin delivery without having to worry about timing and overdosing. It features predictive alerts, a user-friendly menu and is available in at least 5 color options.

It offers users a color screen, waterproofing rated at IPX8, and new meter and accurate remote bolusing.

Insulin Syringes

A syringe used in insulin injections has three parts: a barrel, needle, and plunger. It has a short and thin needle covered with a thin silicon layer to help it pass easily through the skin with the least pain.

Its barrel is long and thin and is marked to help measure insulin units. And with the plunger, you can push the insulin through the needle into the body. The syringes come in different sizes.

Insulin Pen

An insulin pen aids in delivering insulin into the body faster and efficiently. It is composed of an insulin cartridge, a dial for measuring the dose, and disposable pen needles.

There are two pen types, a prefilled pen that is disposed of when the cartridge is empty and a durable one that uses a replaceable cartridge so you do not need to buy another pen every time.

Insulin Needles

Insulin pens use disposable needles that are available in various lengths for various body site injections. They are today thin, small and painless. Each user has a choice of between 12 to 14mm depending on the body size.

Types of Insulin

If you are diabetic you may be required to take different types of insulin for different portions of your day and meal plan. The subtle differences in the types of insulin is how quickly they begin to work in the body.

Intermediate Acting Insulin

These insulin types are complexed with a delaying substance to delay its absorption and extend its working action in the body. It starts working in 1-2 hours and works for between 12-18 hours.

It is commonly used for controlling blood sugar between meals. It is absorbed very slowly and lasts longer, hence its use in controlling blood glucose overnight, and between meals

NPH Insulin

Also known as isophane insulin, this is an intermediate-acting insulin for controlling blood glucose levels in diabetic patients. It is injected once or twice a day, has an onset of 90 minutes and lasts for 24 hours. Some versions come premixed with a short-acting insulin.

Neutral protamine Hagedorn (NPH) has been in use for almost 80 years as the preferred choice of long-acting insulin.

Long-Acting Insulin

This type takes up to 4 hours before it starts working. It can take up to 24 hours actively working in your system to lower blood sugar evenly, whereas Bovine protamine zinc insulin can take up to 36 hours.

It is absorbed slowly and features a minimal peak effect and a stable plateau lasting most of the day. Long-acting insulin is used for controlling blood glucose while fasting, overnight, and between meals.

Insulin Glargine

Marketed as Lantus, insulin glargine is a long-acting basal insulin taken once a day. It contains microcrystals that slow insulin release, hence the long working period of 18-26 hours. It has a peakless profile and efficiently controls serum glucose levels.

Short-Acting Insulin / Fast Acting Insulin

This type of insulin is usually taken before meals. It is also called neutral or regular insulin. It helps in blood glucose control after meals and is used in treating type 2 diabetes.

It reaches the bloodstream in about 30 minutes of administration and peaks in about three hours. This insulin type remains active for about 6 hours hence its use in controlling blood sugar during meals and snacks.

Insulin Aspart

This fast-acting insulin is a manufactured form of human insulin marketed by Novo Nordisk. It has just one amino acid in the chain changed to make it absorb faster into the bloodstream.

It begins working in just 15 minutes after being injected and will remain active in the bloodstream for about two to four hours. It is used for controlling blood glucose levels during meals and snack and helps in correcting high blood glucose levels for example in emergencies.

Novolog Insulin

This fast-acting insulin begins working in about 15 minutes and peaks in 1 hour. It continues to work for 2 to 4 hours. It is sometimes used together with long-acting insulin in controlling glucose levels in the blood.

Common Brands

Insulin lispro

This is rapid-acting insulin produced by recombinant DNA technology. It slightly differs from human insulin in two amino acid positions.

Lantus Insulin

This man-made insulin is a long-acting insulin that starts working several hours after administration and will work for the next 24 hours. It is used in treating types 1 and 2 diabetes in adults and type 1 in children above 6 years.

Humalog Insulin

It is a fast-acting insulin that begins working in just 15 minutes after administration and keeps working for the next 2-4 hours. It treats type 1 and 2 diabetes in adult and type 1 diabetes children of at least 3 years.

Insulin Detemir

Marketed under the Levemir brand, this type of insulin is a sterile solution with a long-acting performance of up to 24 hours. It is produced by a recombinant DNA technology on Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

Basal insulin

This regime involves taking several injections through the day. It involves injecting insulin at each meal in an attempt to emulate the pancreatic function in a nondiabetic person.

Insulin resistance diet

Insulin Side Effects

  • Irritability
  • Blurry Vision
  • Weight Gain
  • Rapid Heartbeat
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Lipohypertrophy
  • Local or Systemic Hypersensitivity
  • Micro And Macrovascular Diseases
  • Diabetic Ketoacidosis
  • Gastrointestinal Distress

What is Insulin Resistance?

Insulin resistance occurs when the body is unable to effectively use insulin to process sugar into cells. This results in an excess of blood sugar and can lead to negative effects. There are lifestyle factors that lead to insulin resistance, as well as genetics.

Insulin Resistance Symptoms

There are a common set of symptoms or traits that can be recognized between people who are insulin resistant or have normal insulin function.

Abdominal Obesity

Excess fat is stored in the mid-region. Abdominal fat is hormonally active, therefore indicating an increase in the output of the hormones impairing glucose tolerance.

Large Pores And Acne

Those suffering from insulin resistance will have an overproduction of sebum that lubricates the skin. A carbohydrate-rich diet will promote overproduction of insulin, which causes sebum production to increase hence enlarging the pores and acne.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Most women suffering from POS have an associated increase in insulin levels in their blood. This leads to overproduce testosterone among other hormones. The result is irregular periods and growth of painful cysts.

Hair Loss In Women

Insulin is also responsible for the regulation of hair growth in addition to regulating blood glucose. Women suffering from insulin resistance are prone to female pattern baldness. Those who lose more than 250 strands a day should check or insulin resistance.

Swollen Ankles

Insulin resistance can cause swelling in the feet or other parts of the body. The swelling is an indicator of insulin resistance since insulin signals the kidneys to retain water and sodium resulting in swelling.

Elevated Blood Sugar

When the cells cannot absorb the available glucose due to insulin resistance, there will be an increase in blood glucose levels. This, in turn, leads to lethargy, excessive thirst, kidney damage, frequent urination, among other serious symptoms.

Carbohydrate Cravings

This may seem counterintuitive, but when the body cannot use the available glucose, it will create the cravings for more carbohydrates since the body thinks it needs more. This, therefore, is the most common symptom of insulin resistance.

Insulin Resistance Diet

Diet is an important factor in insulin resistance and blood sugar levels. By maintaining a healthy balanced diet, insulin resistance can become less severe and in some instances go back to a normal function.

Vegetables

These are low in calories and have high fiber content to help in controlling blood sugar. The best ones for this condition are frozen, canned, and low-sodium vegetables. The best options include Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, collards, spinach, colorful peppers, and tomatoes. The vegetable juices are good but do not have as much fiber as the fresh vegetables.

Fruits

They will provide minerals, fiber, and vitamins for a healthy life. Avoid those with high sugar content. Go for fresh or frozen fruits, the canned types may have added sugars and are peeled so little fiber content.

High fiber fruits like berries, apples, grapes, bananas, peaches, and plums are the best for insulin resistant persons. Fruit juices are no-go zone due to their high sugar content.

Whole Grains

These will provide the needed fuel without elevating the blood glucose level. Focus on unprocessed grains mixed with fat and protein to prevent spiking your blood sugar level.

Beans and Legumes

They provide fiber which ensures the blood sugar rises slowly, therefore, helping with insulin resistance cases. A few good options include black beans, lima, pinto, however, if you re short on time, you can take the canned beans which are better than the dried alternatives.

Lean Protein

Any lean protein is recommended for those with insulin resistance. Vegetable protein sources are also excellent and preferable for vegetarians.

Healthy Fat

Unsaturated fat sources can slow down digestion and provide the body with essential fatty acids. Healthy sources include nuts and seeds and their butter alternatives. These provide healthy fat, protein, fiber, and magnesium.

Nuts and seeds are low in carbohydrates hence their benefit in managing blood sugar. Olives and avocado are also excellent choices. Just beware of the high-calorie contents of nuts and seeds that require proper portioning.

Some nuts are prepared with sodium and sugar that could make them unhealthy for insulin resistance treatment.

Insulin Resistance Treatment

Diabetes can be managed by the use of insulin injections as directed by the diabetes doctor. This is coupled with regular blood sugar test and meal planning.

With the right diet, it is possible to manage and even mitigate insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes. An insulin resistance diet includes balanced lean protein, high fiber foods, like vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes, healthy fats, and healthy dairy.

Keep off refined foods, sweetened beverages, alcohol, fruit juices, and soft drinks since they can cause a spike in blood sugar. When you follow such a healthy diet, it becomes easier to manage blood glucose and live a healthy life