Managing Diabetes with Insulin
A doctor may prescribe insulin therapy to a diabetic if the diabetic’s body does not make enough insulin, or it can’t effectively use the insulin it does produce. All people with type 1 diabetes need to inject themselves with insulin one or more times every day. Many people with type 2 diabetes, and some women with gestational diabetes may also need daily insulin injections.
Insulin therapy regimen includes:
- the types of insulin taken
- when insulin is taken and
- how much insulin is taken
The body produces insulin, which is a hormone that helps convert food into energy. People with diabetes might need insulin injections either because they do not produce sufficient amounts of insulin in their bodies or they cannot properly use the insulin that they do produce properly, or both.
Insulin injections have come a long way since they were first used to treat diabetes in the 1920s. There are different types of insulin to meet various needs and different ways to inject insulin. The insulin injection process itself has become easy and painless.
Insulin is like a key that opens up the locks on the body’s cells so that blood sugar can get inside and be used for energy. If the glucose can’t get into body cells, it builds up in the blood stream. If left untreated, high blood glucose can cause long-term complications.
Managing Diabetes with Pills
When diet and exercise no longer kep the diabetic’s blood glucose in target range, the doctor may recommend that the diabetic begin taking diabetes pills. Each type of pill works in a different way to lower blood sugar. Some pills work to help the body use glucose better. Others force the pancreas to make more insulin. Diabetic pills work to make the diabetic’s own insulin work better or to help the diabetic’s body make more insulin. Together with diet and exercise, pills may help bring blood glucose in to the target range.
Combination Therapy: Managing Diabetes with Pills and Injections
Treatment for type 2 diabetes focuses on keeping blood glucose under control. Type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease. Every year type 2 diabetics lose a portion of their ability to produce insulin. As this happens, a change in the diabetic’s treatment plan will be needed to keep blood glucose in control. The diabetes pill that worked in the past may no longer be effective because of the lack of insulin.
At this point the diabetic’s treatment plan might be changed to what is called “Combination Therapy.” With Combination Therapy adjustments are made to the diabetic’s diet, exercise, and medications. The diabetic might also start insulin therapy.