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Using insulin is one way to manage your diabetes

The pancreas is the organ in the human body responsible for producing insulin to regulate blood glucose levels. Insulin levels rise and fall based on what you eat.

However, for those living with diabetes, your pancreas is not producing the insulin your body needs to regulate blood sugar. In those with type 1 diabetes, your pancreas doesn’t produce insulin at all. For those with type 2 diabetes, the pancreas produces some insulin but it might not produce enough. Alternately, your cells might not respond to the insulin properly, a condition called insulin resistance.

People with type 1 diabetes must use insulin injections regularly to keep their blood sugar at a normal level. It is very important for those with type 1 diabetes to monitor their blood sugar regularly. Some may also require continue glucose monitoring or an insulin pump {add links to other articles here}

For those with type 2 diabetes, some can take oral medications or non-insulin injectable medications. If that is not enough to control their diabetes, injectable insulin might be needed.

Types of Insulin

There are different forms of insulin and different methods of insulin delivery.

Here are the most common types of insulin:

Rapid-acting: They have an onset in less than 15 minutes, peak in 30 to 90 minutes, and last from three to five hours.

Regular (short-acting): They have an onset of a half an hour to one hour, a peak of two to four hours, and last from three to five hours.

Intermediate-acting: They have an onset of one to three hours, a peak of eight hours, and last from 12 to 16 hours.

Long-acting: They have an onset of one hour, minimal or no peak, and last 20 to 26 hours.

Combinations/pre-mixed: These combine intermediate-acting insulins with regular insulin and are convenient for people who need to use both. There’s also a pre-mix with intermediate-acting insulin and rapid insulin. The duration and peak depend on the combination used.

Inhaled insulin: This is the newest form of insulin delivery, launched in 2015. The brand Afrezza has an onset of 12 to 15 minutes, a peak of 30 minutes, and lasts up to 180 minutes.

Any of these types can be delivered into the body in any of these ways:

  • Vial and syringe
  • Insulin pens
  • Insulin patches
  • Inhaled insulin
  • Insulin pumps

Keep in mind, when you first start taking insulin, you will work with your healthcare provider to determine the appropriate type, dose, and delivery method. In addition, your healthcare provider will want you to monitor your blood glucose levels to make sure the insulin is working properly.

You will also want to monitor your diet to better understand how what you eat affects your blood sugar levels. You will also want to eat regular meals to help keep your blood sugar and insulin levels stable.

Once diagnosed with diabetes, your doctor will prescribe insulin. Your doctor’s office can work with you and your insurance company to determine what will be covered.

Beebe Diabetes Management offers a Diabetes Support Group the second Wednesday of alternating months. Due to COVID-19, the meetings will be held virtually using the BlueJeans application. Participants may join using a computer, electronic tablet, or telephone. If you are interested in joining the support group, call 302-645-3121 or e-mail Ken Carson at [email protected] to request an e-mail invitation. The support group is open to anyone interested who is diagnosed with diabetes or who supports someone living with diabetes.