Treatment for Decrease of Insulin with Type 2 Diabetes

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Insulin is a hormone secreted by your pancreas that aids in the removal of glucose from the blood stream. It does this by facilitating uptake of glucose into cells, where it is used for energy. In people suffering from diabetes, however, the pancreas does not produce insulin in the necessary quantities, or even at all. In younger people, if the pancreas stops producing insulin in quantities sufficient to maintain a normal blood glucose level, it results in a disease called type 1 diabetes. In type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, the pancreas’s ability to produce insulin degrades as the sufferer ages. Additionally, type 2 diabetes sufferers also experience insulin inefficiency; their bodies are not able to use insulin as effectively as a normal, healthy one. Insulin-producing cells in the pancreas struggle to keep up with the body’s demands and continue to degrade.

Managing Blood Glucose

When we eat, we consume simple and complex carbohydrates: sugars, starches and fiber. Digestion metabolizes these into glucose, which is released into the blood stream. Sugars, which are simple carbohydrates, break down quickly and provide a sudden rush of glucose. Because of their more complex molecular structure, starches and fiber take longer to break down. As a result, they provide a slower but more steady and even release of glucose into the blood. In sum, anything you eat that contains carbohydrates affects your blood sugar level in some way, whether in the short term or the long term or both. When blood sugar falls too low and we risk hypoglycemia, it’s easy enough to raise our glucose back to safe levels by eating something that contains sugar; eating something that is sweet and starchy or fibrous will add complex carbohydrates that will help maintain blood glucose levels for longer. Removing glucose from the blood is more difficult. Since its inception onto the market in the 1920s, though, insulin has been a tried-and-true method of keeping glucose at safe, healthy levels. However, there are many reasons that people may be resistant to taking insulin to help manage their type 2 diabetes.

The Sting of Insulin

One purely psychological reason some people are reluctant to take insulin is because of the social stigma that is sometimes attached to type 2 diabetes. Rather than understanding it as a natural deficiency beyond their control, they believe (or fear that others will believe) diabetes to be a negative consequence of poor lifestyle choices regarding diet and exercise. Or, on the other hand, sufferers who eat a proper, balanced diet and work out regularly may mistakenly believe that they are already doing enough to control their condition. While a healthy diet and copious exercise can help to control type 2 diabetes during the disease’s early stages, these behavioral choices alone cannot sufficiently regulate blood glucose levels as the condition escalates. Similarly, some people may feel self-conscious about using testing meters and strips, and syringes can also be somewhat obvious—not to mention intimidating. Modern medical technology, however, has addressed these problems by providing smaller, more compact solutions to glucose testing and insulin injection. Insulin pens, for example, provide a discrete, easy solution to privacy problems and a host of other difficulties that once accompanied insulin injections. These devices not only deliver insulin painlessly, but they also deliver exactly the right amount, eliminating the anxiety and fear of administering an incorrect dosage. Many doctors are now also prescribing long-acting insulin to patients, cutting down on the need to coordinate doses and keep track of glucose levels during digestion.

Meeting Long Term and Short-term Needs

If you begin to exhibit symptoms of hyperglycemia, injections of artificial insulin will probably be the only effective means of reducing your blood glucose to safe levels. Just because you require insulin injections in the short term does not mean that you will necessarily need to continue using it in the immediate future. Losing weight, exercising, and eating a diabetes-friendly diet can all help to manage glucose levels and eliminate the need for insulin injections—for the time being. The more a sufferer ages, though, the less insulin his or her body will naturally produce; the beta cells in the pancreas will eventually burn themselves out trying to keep up with their body’s natural insulin resistance. At some point or another, all type 2 diabetes patients will require insulin injections to manage blood glucose. Failure to adequately control blood sugar levels can lead to serious health consequences. Allowing the condition to go unchecked can increase the risk of heart disease, heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, nerve damage in the extremities and infections that require amputation. In short, neglecting irregular blood glucose can seriously inhibit a sufferer’s quality of life and even lead to death. All of this is easily prevented, though, through the prescribed use of insulin.