Mini Review - Journal of Diabetes Medication & Care (2023) Volume 6, Issue 3
Insulin: The Lifesaving Hormone in Diabetes Management
Research Centre of Science, Albania
Research Centre of Science, Albania
Received: 05-June -2023, Manuscript No. jdmc-23-102848; Editor assigned: 07-June-2023, PreQC No. jdmc-23- 102848 (PQ); Reviewed: 21-June -2023, QC No. jdmc-23-102848; Revised: 23-June -2023, Manuscript No. jdmc-23-102848 (R); Published: 30-June -2023; DOI: 10.37532/ jdmc.2023.6(3).77-80
Insulin is a vital hormone involved in regulating glucose metabolism within the body. It plays a critical role in diabetes management, where individuals either do not produce enough insulin or are unable to use it effectively. This article provides an overview of insulin’s functions, its importance in diabetes, different types of insulin, administration methods, and advancements in insulin therapy. Understanding insulin’s role in glucose regulation and staying updated with advancements in therapy are crucial for optimizing diabetes care and improving patient outcomes.
Insulin • Diabetes managements • Potentially life-threatening • Hypoglycemia
Insulin is a vital hormone that plays a crucial role in the management of diabetes. It serves as a lifeline for individuals with diabetes, enabling them to regulate their blood glucose levels and maintain overall health. Discovered in the early 1920s, insulin revolutionized the treatment of diabetes, transforming it from a potentially life-threatening condition to a manageable chronic disease [1,2].
Function of Insulin
Insulin is produced by the beta cells of the pancreas, an organ located behind the stomach. Its primary function is to regulate the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. When we consume food, especially carbohydrates, our blood sugar levels rise. In response, the pancreas releases insulin into the bloodstream.
Insulin acts as a key that unlocks the cells of the body, allowing glucose from the bloodstream to enter and be utilized as a source of energy. It also facilitates the storage of excess glucose in the liver and muscles in the form of glycogen. By promoting glucose uptake and storage, insulin helps maintain optimal blood sugar levels, preventing hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) and its associated complications [3-7].
Types of diabetes and Insulin
There are two main types of diabetes: type 1diabetes and type 2 diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys the beta cells of the pancreas, leading to a deficiency of insulin. As a result, individuals with type 1 diabetes require exogenous insulin for survival and must administer it through injections or insulin pumps. Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, is characterized by insulin resistance. The body either does not produce enough insulin or cannot effectively utilize the insulin it produces. Initially, lifestyle modifications such as diet, exercise, and oral medications are recommended for managing type 2 diabetes[8-11]. However, as the disease progresses, some individuals may also require insulin therapy to achieve optimal blood sugar control.
Methods of Insulin administration
Insulin can be administered through various methods, including subcutaneous injections, insulin pens, insulin pumps, and inhalation devices. The most common method is subcutaneous injection, in which insulin is injected into the fatty tissue just below the skin. This allows for the slow and steady absorption of insulin into the bloodstream. Insulin pens are convenient and easy-to-use devices that deliver premeasured doses of insulin.
They provide a more discreet and portable alternative to traditional syringes and vials. Insulin pumps, on the other hand, are small devices that deliver a continuous supply of insulin through a catheter inserted under the skin [12-15]. They can mimic the natural insulin secretion pattern more closely and offer greater flexibility in dosing.
Importance in diabetes management
Insulin is indispensable for diabetes management as it helps control blood sugar levels and prevents the complications associated with the disease. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to serious health problems such as cardiovascular disease, kidney damage, nerve damage, and vision impairment. By administering insulin, individuals with diabetes can effectively regulate their blood glucose levels, reducing the risk of these complications. It allows them to lead healthier lives and participate in daily activities without the constant fear of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) or hyperglycemia.
Material and Methods
Types of Insulin
Rapid-acting insulin: This type of insulin starts working within 15 minutes after injection and reaches its peak effect within 1-2 hours. It typically lasts for 3-4 hours.
Short-acting insulin: It begins working within 30 minutes, peaks within 2-3 hours, and remains active for around 5-8 hours.
Intermediate-acting insulin: This insulin has a slower onset, usually within 2 hours, and peaks within 4-12 hours. Its effects last for about 12-18 hours.
Long-acting insulin: It has a slow onset and provides a steady release of insulin over an extended period, typically lasting up to 24 hours or longer.
Insulin delivery devices
Syringes: Insulin is drawn into a syringe and injected subcutaneously into the fatty tissue just below the skin. Syringes come with different capacity markings and needle sizes for accurate dosing and patient comfort.
Insulin pens: These are devices that contain a prefilled cartridge or reservoir of insulin. Insulin pens provide a convenient and discreet way to administer insulin. They usually have a dial for selecting the desired dose and a needle for injection.
Insulin pumps: These small devices are worn externally and deliver a continuous supply of insulin through a catheter inserted under the skin. Insulin pumps can be programmed to deliver basal (background) insulin continuously and allow for bolus (additional) doses at mealtime.
Inhalation devices: Some types of rapidacting insulin can be inhaled using specialized inhalers, delivering insulin into the lungs for absorption.
Blood glucose monitoring
Self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG): This method involves regularly checking blood glucose levels using a blood glucose meter. A small drop of blood obtained by pricking the fingertip is placed on a test strip, which is inserted into the meter to provide a blood glucose reading. SMBG helps individuals with diabetes monitor their glucose levels and adjust insulin doses accordingly.
Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM): CGM systems use a small sensor placed under the skin to measure glucose levels in the interstitial fluid continuously. The sensor sends the data wirelessly to a receiver or smartphone, providing real-time glucose readings and trends. CGM allows for better glucose control and helps individuals make informed insulin dosing decisions.
Individualized Insulin regimens
Multiple daily injections (MDI): This regimen involves administering a combination of rapidacting, short-acting, and/or long-acting insulin through multiple daily injections. It mimics the body’s natural insulin release pattern more closely.
Basal-bolus therapy: It combines long-acting insulin for basal coverage throughout the day and rapid-acting insulin for mealtime boluses. Basal insulin provides a constant background insulin level, while bolus insulin is given in response to meals or to correct high blood sugar levels.
Insulin-to-carbohydrate ratio (ICR): ICR is used to calculate the amount of rapid-acting insulin needed based on the grams of carbohydrates consumed. It helps individuals adjust their insulin doses to match their carbohydrate intake.
Correction factor: A correction factor, also known as a sensitivity factor or insulin sensitivity factor, helps determine how much rapid-acting insulin is needed to lower blood sugar by a specific amount. It is used to correct high blood sugar levels.
These material and methods form the foundation of insulin therapy and diabetes management.
Insulin, as a lifesaving hormone in diabetes management, is an essential component for individuals living with diabetes. It enables them to regulate their blood glucose levels effectively and prevent the complications associated with the disease. Here, we will discuss the significance of insulin in diabetes management and its impact on the lives of people with diabetes.
Blood glucose control: Insulin plays a critical role in maintaining optimal blood glucose control. In individuals with type 1 diabetes, who have an absolute deficiency of insulin, exogenous insulin is necessary for survival. It allows them to manage their blood sugar levels and prevent hyperglycemia, which can lead to acute and long-term complications.
Prevention of acute complications: Insulin therapy helps prevent acute complications such as diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) and hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state (HHS). These life-threatening conditions can occur when blood glucose levels are uncontrolled. Insulin administration ensures that glucose is properly utilized by the body’s cells, preventing the buildup of ketones and the development of DKA.
Long-term complication prevention: Consistently elevated blood glucose levels over time can lead to long-term complications in diabetes, such as cardiovascular disease, kidney damage, neuropathy, retinopathy, and peripheral vascular disease. By effectively controlling blood glucose levels, insulin therapy reduces the risk of these complications and promotes better overall health outcomes.
Improved quality of life: Insulin therapy allows individuals with diabetes to lead healthier and more active lives. By maintaining stable blood glucose levels, they can participate in various activities without the constant fear of hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia. Insulin also provides individuals with more dietary flexibility, as they can adjust their insulin doses to match their carbohydrate intake.
Personalized approach: Insulin therapy offers a personalized approach to diabetes management. Different insulin types and regimens can be tailored to meet the specific needs of each individual, taking into account factors such as lifestyle, age, duration of diabetes, and individual glucose patterns. This customization helps optimize blood glucose control and improve treatment adherence.
Technological advancements: Over the years, insulin delivery devices and monitoring techniques have advanced significantly. Insulin pens, pumps, and inhalation devices have made insulin administration more convenient, accurate, and discreet. Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) systems provide real-time glucose readings, enabling better insulin dose adjustments and reducing the risk of hypoglycemia.
Ongoing research and development: Research in the field of insulin and diabetes management is continuously evolving. New insulin analogs, delivery systems, and closedloop systems (artificial pancreas) are being developed to improve the effectiveness and convenience of insulin therapy. These advancements aim to further enhance the lives of individuals with diabetes and reduce the burden of the disease.
In conclusion, insulin is an indispensable and lifesaving hormone in the management of diabetes. Its discovery and availability have transformed diabetes from a potentially life-threatening condition to a manageable chronic disease. Insulin plays a crucial role in regulating blood glucose levels, preventing acute and long-term complications, and improving the quality of life for individuals with diabetes. Through insulin therapy, individuals with type 1 diabetes can survive and thrive by replacing the deficient insulin produced by their bodies. Additionally, insulin therapy is often a vital component of treatment for individuals with type 2 diabetes, especially as the disease progresses and their bodies become less responsive to naturally produced insulin. Insulin therapy allows for precise control of blood glucose levels, reducing the risk of hyperglycemia and related complications. It also helps prevent acute complications such as diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) and hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state (HHS). By maintaining stable blood glucose levels, insulin therapy significantly reduces the risk of long-term complications, including cardiovascular disease, kidney damage, neuropathy, retinopathy, and peripheral vascular disease.
The advancements in insulin delivery devices and monitoring techniques, such as insulin pens, pumps, inhalation devices, self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG), and continuous glucose monitoring (CGM), have made insulin administration more convenient, accurate, and personalized. These technological innovations have further improved the effectiveness of insulin therapy and enhanced the overall management of diabetes. However, it is essential to recognize that insulin therapy is just one aspect of comprehensive diabetes management. Lifestyle modifications, including healthy eating, regular physical activity, and medication adherence, complement insulin therapy to achieve optimal blood glucose control.
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