Approximately 30.3 million adults in the United States suffer from diabetes. And, another 84.1 million adults have prediabetes.
With numbers like that, the chances are pretty high that you or someone you know will be diagnosed with diabetes and will be dependent on insulin at some point in your life. Because of this, it’s important to be able to answer the question, “what does insulin do?”
Read on for answers to all your questions about insulin and why it’s important for people with diabetes.
What is Insulin?
Insulin is a hormone that is produced in and secreted by the pancreas. The pancreas secretes insulin in response to increases in blood glucose levels.
What Does Insulin Do?
Insulin serves two main purposes in the body.
First, it regulates the amount of sugar in your bloodstream. When you eat, your body breaks carbohydrates down into glucose. Insulin helps shuttle glucose from the bloodstream into the body’s tissues.
In addition to moving glucose out of the bloodstream, insulin also promotes the storage of glucose in the liver for energy. In its stored form, glucose becomes glycogen.
Why Do Diabetics Need Insulin?
People who suffer from type 1 and type 2 diabetes both require insulin to remain healthy.
In people with type 1 diabetes, the pancreas secretes either too little insulin or no insulin at all.
In people with type 2 diabetes, the body begins to resist insulin and glucose remains in the bloodstream. This chronically elevated blood glucose causes a variety of complications throughout the body, including kidney damage, nerve damage, and even blindness.
People with type 1 diabetes require insulin therapy to replace insulin that is in short supply in their bodies.
When they’re first diagnosed, people with type 2 diabetes can often manage their condition with oral medication and lifestyle changes.
As the disease progresses, it’s common for the cells of the pancreas that produce insulin to die off altogether. When this happens, type 2 diabetics often require insulin therapy to control blood sugar.
Types of Insulin
Insulin can be broken down into the four following categories:
- Rapid-acting insulin: This is usually taken 10-30 minutes prior to a meal to manage the increase in blood glucose levels that accompanies eating
- Short-acting insulin: This is usually taken 30-60 minutes before a meal to manage blood glucose increases.
- Intermediate-acting insulin: This is used to manage blood glucose elevations when rapid-acting insulins are no longer effective.
- Long-acting insulin: This type is usually combined with a rapid- or short-acting insulin to lower blood glucose when the first type of insulin stops working
Insulin is often administered with an injection pen. There are also types of insulin that can be inhaled.
Order Insulin Online Today
In addition to wondering, “what does insulin do?” you might also be wondering what the best way is to get the insulin that you or a loved one needs at a price you can afford.
As you know, driving to and waiting in line at the pharmacy can be a real headache.
Fortunately, there are lots of online pharmacies that allow you to compare prices and order your prescriptions from the comfort of your own home.
Check out our online pharmacy directory today to find a reputable pharmacy with great prices.