Insulin is a natural hormone that is basic and necessary to live. When our bodies can no longer make enough, we need it in the form of injections in order for our cells to absorb energy from food.
There are different types of insulin depending on how quickly they work, when they peak, and how long they last.
All insulin available in the United States is manufactured in a laboratory, but animal insulin can still be imported for personal use.Inside the pancreas there are beta cells make the hormone insulin. When you eat a meal, naturally beta cells release insulin to help the body use or store the blood glucose it gets from food. It does this by acting like a key to open the doors in your cells that typically absorb insulin, and help those cells pull insulin out of the blood and into the organs that need it- like the brain, muscles, and heart, to name a few.In people with Type 1 Diabetes, the beta cells in the pancreas have been destroyed and the pancreas can now no longer make insulin. For people with Type 1 Diabetes, or people with Type 2 who also have reduced beta cell insulin production, they must receive insulin injections (think of it as a supplement) in order for their organs to absorb the energy from food.
People with Type 2 Diabetes generally make insulin, but their bodies don't respond well to it. Some people with Type 2 need diabetes pills, insulin shots, or both to help their bodies use glucose for energy.
Insulin cannot be taken as a pill because it would be broken down during digestion just like the protein in food. It must be injected into the fat under your skin for it to get into your blood. In some rare cases insulin can lead to a mild allergic reaction at the injection site. Talk to your doctor if you believe you may be experiencing a reaction.
Insulin has 3 main characteristics:
Premixed insulin can be helpful for people who have trouble drawing up insulin out of two bottles and reading the correct directions and dosages. It is also useful for those who have poor eyesight or dexterity and is convenient for people whose diabetes has been stabilized on this combination.In 2015 an inhaled insulin product, Afrezza, became available in the U.S. Afrezza is a rapid-acting inhaled insulin that is administered at the beginning of each meal and can be used by adults with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Afrezza is not a substitute for long-acting insulin. Afrezza must be used in combination with injectable long-acting insulin in patients with type 1 diabetes and in type 2 patients who use long-acting insulin.
All insulins come dissolved or suspended in liquids. The standard and most commonly used strength in the United States today is U-100, which means it has 100 units of insulin per milliliter of fluid, though U-500 (5 times more concentrated) insulin is available for patients who are extremely insulin resistant.U-40, which has 40 units of insulin per milliliter of fluid, has generally been phased out around the world, but it is possible that it could still be found in some places (and U-40 insulin is still used in veterinary care).If you're traveling outside of the U.S., be certain to match your insulin strength with the correct size syringe.