Why You Should Be Using Insulin For Type 2 Diabetes

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In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas produces no insulin at all, and so glucose cannot move efficiently from the blood stream into cells where it is needed. Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, is characterized by insulin underproduction and resistance. In other words, the body can’t use insulin properly, and the pancreas is unable to produce even the normal levels, let alone enough to maintain effective glucose uptake into cells and sugar levels in the blood. Although insulin is universally associated with type 1 diabetes, it is also used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes as well. While it may not be necessary immediately after being diagnosed, every person suffering from type 2 diabetes will eventually require the use of manufactured insulin. However, the reality of using insulin may not be as bad as you suspect.

The Cause Behind Type 2 Diabetes

The main symptom of type 2 diabetes is a decrease in the number of insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. By the time a person is diagnosed, they may have already lost as many as 50% to 80% of their beta cells. Six years after diagnosis, they may have as few as a quarter of them left. As a result of this decline in beta cells, the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin to facilitate the removal of glucose from the bloodstream to the other cells of the body. These Cells do not receive the sugar they need to function optimally, and likewise the amount of sugar in the body remains high—sometimes dangerously so.

Living with Type 2 Diabetes

The ABCs of type 2 diabetes are controlling your blood cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood glucose. Obviously, that last one is where the insulin comes in. Between 30 and 40 percent of people with type 2 diabetes use insulin to treat their blood sugar. At the time of their diagnoses, some people may be able to manage their condition solely by eating healthier foods and getting adequate exercise. Additionally, there are a number of oral and injected medications on the market that can help control blood sugar levels. Depending on how advanced the case is, though, some may need to begin using insulin immediately upon diagnosis to help get their blood glucose back to healthy levels.

Insulin in the Body

The pancreas produces insulin constantly; this is called basal insulin, secreted at a rate of one unit per hour. In response to eating, the pancreas increases insulin production in two phases. The first is within fifteen minutes of when you began eating. The second commences over the next one and a half to three hours, to compensate for the gradual rise in blood glucose as your food is digested. Different types of manufactured insulin mimic the different ways that pancreas reacts to blood glucose. These include rapid acting, short acting, intermediate acting, and long-acting insulin. Rapid acting insulin begins working in 15 to 20 minutes. Short-acting insulin takes longer to work, but not long enough to maintain basal insulin levels, and so is less effective for either use. Long-acting insulin is the best for maintaining basal levels, and has surpassed the intermediate-acting variety for maintaining a steady level of blood sugar. Due to the nature of type 2 diabetes, a sufferer’s ability to maintain the necessary background level of insulin and to produce the surge necessitated by eating will both deteriorate over time. As a result, people with type 2 diabetes will eventually need to inject themselves with both long and short-acting insulin.

Getting Past the Preconceptions

Some people are afraid to take insulin for various reasons. Some see it as a sort of stigma, a visible sign that they suffer from a health deficiency or that they’ve made poor lifestyle choices concerning food and exercise. In reality, the problem is due entirely to the failure of beta cells and their bodies’ inefficient insulin usage; although diet and exercise can help treat type 2 diabetes for a while, it is not enough to prevent the need for insulin injections. Others are just afraid of the insulin injection itself because they imagine a large, sharp needle. In fact, insulin needles work best when they’re at the minimum effective size for an individual, and modern medical technology has reduced the required size (and thus pain) considerably. Beyond syringes, insulin pens are also available, which are virtually painless and exceedingly simple to use. Insulin pumps can also supply a steady stream of short-acting insulin directly into the blood, helping keep glucose levels under careful control. Type 2 diabetes will ultimately require sufferers to use insulin injections in order to maintain their health. However, the ease of using insulin to keep blood sugar in balance has never been easier. Thanks to advances in medical knowledge and technology, managing insulin resistance can let you lead a long, healthy life with a minimum of inconvenience and discomfort.