Hi there, dear readers. I have a very interesting topic at hand today. Any guesses? Yes, it is all about Insulin today. I hope after today some of the long-standing doubts and myths are busted. Let us first go through some of the myths surrounding this particular subject. The first being that insulin treatment is the last resort for a Diabetic patient; contrary to this belief insulin is the best possible treatment for Diabetes mellitus. We have also heard many people saying that being insulin dependent hampers normal lifestyle and induces weight gain among diabetics: Insulin in fact helps in providing a better lifestyle for a diabetic patient and the weight gain can easily be managed with diet changes. Many people have this notion that intake of insulin during pregnancy is harmful for the baby, when in reality it is more harmful if a diabetic pregnant mother does not take insulin during her pregnancy. Insulin treatment is a bit complicated to many people, but it should be treated like a new game to which you should learn the rules of in order to lessen the complications.
We have been discussing about this topic for so long, it is very natural for the question to arise.
What is Insulin?
It is a hormone, secreted by the pancreas. It helps in the proper maintenance of blood glucose levels of the body. Malfunction in the production o insulin causes diabetes. There are various types of Diabetes, the types which require insulin support are:
- Type 1 Diabetes
- Uncontrolled Type 2 Diabetes
- Gestational Diabetes
- During Surgery/Sepsis/Critical illness in Diabetic Patients.
Now comes the question as to how many kinds of Insulin are there? Broadly speaking, there are 3 main kinds of Insulin based on the duration of action, namely;
- Short Acting Insulin– Also called BOLUS Insulin; it is taken after any food to lower the PP blood sugar levels. It starts action within 10-20 minutes and the action lasts for 4-5 hours. It can further be divided into two categories- Ultra Short Acting and Rapid Acting.
- Long Acing Insulin– It is also known as BASAL Insulin, It starts acing within 90 minutes and action lasts for up to 24 hours. Usually taken at bedtime or in the morning.
What is the relation between food and insulin is next right? We are always recommended to take insulin before or after any meal or food; why is that? As we all know that we should eat every kind of food group like fat, carbohydrates, proteins and sugar. Among these carbohydrates and sugar cause a rise in the blood sugar level, hence we have to administer insulin from outside to control the PP blood sugar levels. Just as we adjust the salt and sugar in a dish if here seems to be an imbalance, similarly we have to take insulin to adjust the blood glucose levels and keep it as balanced as possible. The Long Acting Insulin or the Basal insulin should ideally be taken after dinner or breakfast. The Short Acting Insulin or the Bolus on the other hand is to be taken 15 minutes before any meal or food intake. The insulin dosage can be adjusted based on the patient and their blood glucose levels.
As we have advancements in every field, we also have advancements in the field of Insulin and the modes of Delivery. Insulin should be administered subcutaneously or in emergency cases, Doctors can administer insulin intravenously. In general, insulin is taken subcutaneously on a day-to-day basis. There are three main methods to administer insulin into our body, they are;
- Insulin Pen- As the name suggests, this device looks like a pen and is very easy to travel with. The dosage is dialed on the pen and the pen cap and the needle cap need to be removed before pushing the plunger to administer insulin into our body. The skin should be pinched into a fold and the needle should be at a 45 or a 90 degree angle
- Syringe– This has been a method of effectively administering insulin since a very long time. The skin should be clean when using the syringe, a certain amount of insulin is filled into the syringe. The skin needs to be pinched into a fold, the syringe is to be injected and the plunger is then pushed. The syringe is generally taken out after 5-6 seconds.
- Insulin Pump– The insulin Pump is the newest discovery among all the three methods. The reservoir needs t be filled with insulin and the infusion sets need to be attached. The pump is then primed and the infusion set is to be inserted with the Basal rate of insulin being set and just a button needs to be pressed for administration of insulin.
After so much of information on insulin, you may have the question as to where do we inject it? As mentioned earlier, insulin is to be administered subcutaneously, and where there is an underlying layer of fat; like the thighs, abdomen and arms. There can be mainly two kinds of complications due to not rotating the injection sites regularly, like Lipodystrophy and Lipohypertrophy. Insulin is a hormone and it is a delicate hormone, thus it needs to be stored correctly. It should be stored in the door compartment of the Refrigerator at 2-8 degree centigrade. Insulin should not be kept under direct sunlight. It should not be taken when the expiry date has passed or when cloudy or lumpy. A diabetic patient must be aware of hypoglycemia and the symptoms and should keep candies handy.
I hope I have been able to shed light on insulin and was able to bust certain myths, I will be back again with exciting information. Until next time. Subscribe to know more about such interesting facts.