Insulin Injections 101

What is Insulin?

Insulin is a hormone which is produced by your pancreas. It’s primary function is to metabolize blood sugar. Insulin works by binding insulin receptors on the cell wall which open glucose transporters. Once opened, glucose can flow freely from the blood into the cell. Some diabetes patients are not capable of producing insulin and they rely on insulin injections in order to function properly.

Two types of Insulin Injections

There are two types of insulin injections diabetics use to maintain their health. They are Basal insulin and Bolus insulin. Basal insulin is a long-acting insulin very similar to the natural insulin our pancreas produce. One basal injection can last through a whole day, which means a diabetic need only to take this once or twice a day. Basal insulins are “peakless”; this means that it tries to maintain the same level of blood sugar throughout the day.

The other type of insulin is the Bolus insulin. Literally, bolus means a single dose. Bolus insulin is administered to patients in order to quickly react to a rapid increase in blood glucose after eating. Bolus insulins are the opposite of Basal insulin as they take much less time to take effect. Some bolus insulin shots can even lower blood sugar levels in a matter of minutes. Bolus insulins are quick to act and quick to metabolize. Your body can excrete it out within a few hours.

When Is Insulin Needed?

Insulin shots are part of a Type I diabetic’s life. Their body lacks the genetic capability to produce insulin, so they need to inject themselves with insulin everyday for the rest of their life. Type 2 diabetics only require insulin shots only when their body has become highly resistant to insulin or when their medications have no more effect on their blood glucose levels down. ¬†Both types are highly dependent on their medications and insulin shots, although Type II diabetics need larger doses of insulin than Type I patients.

Most Type II diabetics take basal insulin such as Lantus or Levemir to assist their body’s own insulin in metabolizing blood sugar.

Disclaimer: The statements on this article have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Please consult your physician before starting any nutrition regimen.