Insulin is a hormone that helps your body use sugar for energy. Sugar comes from food and drinks, so you might think of insulin as the “key” to opening up those sugars so they can be used by the cells in your body. Without enough insulin or too much sugar in your blood (also called hyperglycemia), cells become starved for fuel and can’t function properly. This can cause serious health problems over time if left untreated.

How Diabetes Affects Insulin Production

Diabetes is a condition that causes the body to have high blood sugar (glucose). This happens because the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or the body’s cells cannot use it properly. Insulin is generated by the pancreas that helps glucose get into your cells, where it can be used for energy. When you eat, your blood sugar probably rises and triggers your pancreas to release insulin into your bloodstream. Your liver uses some of this insulin immediately, but most of it travels throughout your body to help lower your blood sugar levels by allowing glucose to enter muscle and fat cells.

How Insulin Treatment Helps Your Blood Sugar

Let’s understand how insulin works. Insulin allows your body to leverage glucose for energy, store it in muscles and liver as glycogen and makes fat and protein available to be used as energy. It also helps turn amino acids into new proteins that can be used for rebuilding tissue or storing energy. Insulin also stimulates ketogenesis (the production of ketones) by the liver.

Insulin is generated by beta cells in the pancreas. These cells are behind the neck near where your stomach meets your small intestine. When you eat food with carbohydrates, amino acids, fats or proteins like a high-protein meal or a steak, your blood sugar rises temporarily because those macronutrients have been broken down into smaller units called monosaccharides: glucose from carbs; essential amino acids from protein; essential fatty acids from fat; ketones from fat intake. In response to these higher levels of monosaccharides circulating throughout your body via plasma (blood), insulin is released into your bloodstream by beta cells at about one unit per hour until you eat again and begin digesting more macronutrients which causes another rise in blood sugar levels followed by another round of insulin release until finally all macronutrient sources are depleted at which point you start feeling hungry again.

How You Take Insulin

Insulin is injected into the skin. Insulin pens are commonly used for insulin injection and are typically used by people with type 1 diabetes, although they can also be used by people with type 2 diabetes. An insulin pump connects to a small device that delivers insulin through tubing inserted under your skin.

There are three major ways you can administer your dose: injection, infusion pump, or a combination of both delivery methods (injecting some doses and infusing others). If you choose insulin infusion, remember, as professionals  at Tandem Diabetes say, “finding the right infusion set is an important part of successful insulin pump therapy.” 

Some people choose to use multiple medications for their diabetes management instead of just one product; this is called “multiple therapy” and is often combined with education about healthy lifestyle changes like diet, exercise, monitoring blood sugar levels etc.

You should now know that insulin is a powerful hormone that can help you manage your blood sugar. But, it’s important to remember that everyone’s body is different and what works for one person may not work for another. If you’re interested in learning more about the use of insulin in managing blood sugar, I suggest speaking with your doctor about your options.

 

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