[ Diabetes Type 1 ]

How Different Types of Insulin Affect Your Body

In accordance with the American Diabetes Association, there are 21 million diabetics in America; with another 54 million individuals having pre-diabetes (putting them at high risk for developing Type II diabetes). Welcome back to Ask D’Mine, our weekly advice column hosted by veteran type 1, diabetes author and community educator Wil Dubois. Without enough insulin, the level of glucose in the bloodstream can become too high. Most insulins used today are recombinant DNA human insulins. Drugs.com does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend specific therapies. Do not use more or less of it or use it more often than prescribed by your doctor. Long-acting insulin begins working several hours after being injected and remains in the bloodstream up to 24 hours.

Insulin has also been proposed to protect against Aβ toxicity, and insulin deficits have been linked to tau pathology, neuroinflammation, and other aspects of Alzheimer’s pathophysiology (De Felice et al., 2009; El Khoury et al., 2014; Zhao et al., 2009). Insulin injections replace the insulin your body can no longer make when the cells in the pancreas cease to function. The first question on my mind was “Why?” A medication as old as insulin, which has been available since 1921, ought to have at least one generic brand. You can prevent or delay health problems by keeping your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels in your target range. But insulin has also proven to be an excellent therapy for a growing number of people with type 2 diabetes, whose bodies make some insulin but struggle to use it effectively. Pharmaceutical companies who would lose out if people reversed there conditions that were diabetic fund them. I am too high all the time.

If you take three shots a day and your blood sugar is near normal, that’s good. This closely mimics the body’s own insulin response and allows greater flexibility in eating schedules for diabetic patients. But modern medicine has developed laboratory-made insulin that is exactly the same as the insulin made in the human pancreas. If your insulin detemir comes in pens, be sure to read and understand the manufacturer’s instructions. Using an insulin pump: With an insulin pump, you can adjust the rate of basal insulin to coincide with your liver function. For example, two trials conducted at the University of Washington in Seattle between 2011 and 2013 evaluated insulin detemir, a long-acting insulin analog that differs from human insulin by one amino acid. Symptoms of hypoglycemia include weakness, shakiness, sweating, lightheadedness and confusion; coma and death can result in severe cases.

Here is what happens: Every time insulin is improved, for instance by making it absorb at a different rate, a new patent is issued. Another type combines an insulin releaser with a pill that keeps your liver from making too much glucose (like metformin). Rapid-acting insulin covers insulin needs when meals are eaten at the same time as the injection is administered. Most people who use rapid-acting insulin also use a longer-acting insulin. It’s an equal opportunity scourge. Other combinations of insulin are available on the market, such as NPH and Humalog mixtures and NPH and NovoLog mixtures. Commercially, intermediate-acting insulins are available as Humulin N or Novolin N.


Intermediate-acting insulin lasts even longer. Change (rotate) the injection site within the chosen area with each dose; try to avoid injecting the same site more often than once every 1–2 weeks. This insulin often covers an individual’s needs for about half a day or overnight. Freiherr J, Hallschmid M, Frey WH, Brünner YF, Chapman CD, Hölscher C, Craft S, De Felice FG, Benedict C. Intermediate-acting insulin is sold as Humulin N, Novolin N, and is generically called NPH (N). It has been an uphill battle to find ways around the cost, but I have found the help I needed. Insulin-releasing medicines can also lead to slight weight gain.

Name brands include Levemir (detemir) and Lantus (glargine). Onset is typically one to two hours. But you’ll never have blood sugar control that’s as good as someone who doesn’t have diabetes. Pre-mixed insulins offer a convenient way to get a combination of two insulins in a single bottle or insulin pen. Full activity occurs within 4 to 5 hr and remains constant for 24 hr. The amount of each type of insulin is identified by the numbers following the name brand. For example, Humulin 70/30 contains 70 percent intermediate-acting and 30 percent short-acting insulin.

Several different pre-mixed insulins are available under the Humulin, Novolin, Humalog, and Novolog names. 2012 Aug 30; PubMed. Their onsets are usually five to 15 minutes, peaks vary from 30 minutes to five hours, and durations are 10 to 24 hours. You have diabetes. Insulin side effects may affect some users but not others. Let your doctor know if you think you are having any side effects so your insulin treatment can be adjusted if necessary. First, because insulin acts to reduce the sugar in your bloodstream, taking too much insulin may cause hypoglycemia or abnormally low blood sugar.

As we get older, it stretches out. An insulin overdose isn’t always the cause of hypoglycemia, however. It can result from skipped meals, strenuous exercise, a change of diabetes pills, or anything else that alters the delicate balance between the amount of insulin you take and the way your body uses it. Second, some people who start using insulin notice that they gain weight. That could happen because the new insulin supply helps the body better use sugar in the bloodstream instead of excreting much of it. All those sugar calories can quickly add up. What’s more, the high volume of urine that the body had been producing to get rid of blood sugar may leave some chronically dehydrated.

When insulin allows that excessive urination to stop and a healthy level of hydration is restored, the weight of the additional water shows up on your bathroom scale. Don’t be alarmed and don’t cut back on liquids; look elsewhere in your diet if you need to shed a few pounds. Among other potential side effects, insulin may also produce flu-like symptoms in a small percentage of people. And some may experience undesirably low levels of potassium in their blood. Your doctor can confirm whether any other unusual symptoms may be side effects of your insulin. Two possibilities come to mind. Seek medical care if you develop possible insulin allergy symptoms including rash, itching, swelling, headache, dizziness, trouble breathing, nausea, or vomiting.

Like so many important things in life, taking insulin isn’t always easy—but the benefits are worth it. Together with exercise, a healthy diet, and other diabetes medicines you may take, insulin is a powerful cornerstone of diabetes care. It can help you achieve and maintain your blood sugar goals, reduce your risk of diabetes complications, and feel your very best for years to come.

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