If you’ve newly been diagnosed with diabetes, or someone you care about has been, you should start asking questions and learning the critical points of things like insulin therapy, proper diet for someone with diabetes, and exercise routines that will fit the lifestyle of the patient. 

But first, you need to understand what these key terms mean. This will help you to start asking the right questions.

We’ve collected a little bit of information to get you started on improving and maintaining your health with diabetes.

Diabetes Definition

Diabetes is a condition found in either a human or mammal in which the pancreas isn’t producing enough insulin. The full name for diabetes is diabetes mellitus. Diabetes is a metabolic disorder, specifically effecting the anabolic processes.

Insulin is the hormone in our bodies that keeps blood sugar in check. Blood sugar comes from the food that we eat, which is turned, by the body, into fuel, called glucose, which our bodies process and burn as energy. 

When there is not enough insulin to help regulate this process, sugar in the blood can spike, and if left untreated, can cause a number of severe health issues, potentially leading to death if left untreated long enough.

Some of the health issues include:

  • Skin complications
  • Blindness
  • Ketoacidosis
  • Stroke
  • Kidney disease
  • Neuropathy
  • High blood pressure
  • Gastroparesis
  • Heart attack
  • Heart disease
  • Loss of extremities

Insulin Definition

Insulin is a peptide hormone that is produced by the pancreas. Its function is to regulate the metabolism of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates as they are eaten, and promote the absorption of these nutrients into our systems. 

When there is enough insulin, and systems are running properly, the liver, muscles, and fat systems of the body will properly convert glucose into glycogen or triglycerides, which our bodies need for fuel.

How is Diabetes Treated?

If someone has been diagnosed with diabetes, there are a variety of therapies that the person may be exposed to. Some types of diabetes, for example, are not insulin dependent, and can regulate health issues via exercise, proper diet, and oral medications.

Those with an insulin-dependent form of diabetes, however, will be prescribed insulin therapy, along with proper diet and exercise plans, and, in some cases, additional oral medications.

What is Insulin Therapy?

Insulin therapy is simply the medical treatment of someone with diabetes or some other form of insulin intolerance with a corrective regimen of insulin medications.

Everyone with Type 1 diabetes, either juvenile or other forms, must receive insulin therapy of some kind. Many with Type 2 diabetes also must receive insulin therapy, though not everyone.

Insulin can be received through an injection, or via something called an insulin or diabetic pump. Both options provide immediate doses of the much-needed hormone. A new, third type of delivery is an inhalation method, used just prior to eating.

Types of Doses

There are three basic types of insulin doses involved in standard insulin therapy. Each type of dose has a different length of time it works, and is administered for different reasons.

  • Basal insulin – the baseline insulin that maintains the patient’s insulin levels throughout the day
  • Bolus insulin – the insulin administered to cover carbohydrates consumed during meals and snacks
  • Corrective Insulin – the insulin given in case of spiked blood sugar levels

What are the Types of Insulin?

There are five basic types of insulin. Many different brands produce the various types, and specific ones are recommended by doctors for various reasons. If you have been diagnosed with insulin dependent diabetes, be sure to discuss the various brands, types, and why you are being prescribed the ones the doctor has chosen.

Everyone should know what they are being treated with, and why the course of treatment as been chosen. While the doctors have the medical training, you know your body, and the more you know about your treatments, the more capable you will be of realizing when medications are or are not working.

Rapid Acting Insulin Options

  • Insulin glulusine – Apidra
  • Insulin lispro – Humalog
  • Insulin aspart – NovoLog

Short Acting Insulin Options

  • Humulin R
  • Novolin R
  • Velosulin R

Intermediate Acting Insulin

  • Humulin N
  • Novolin N

Long Acting Insulin

  • Insulin glargine – Basaglar, Lantus, Toujeo
  • Insulin detimer – Levemir
  • Insulin degludec – Tresiba

Pre-mixed Insulin

  • Humulin 70/30
  • Novolin 70/30
  • Novolog 70/30
  • Humulin 50/50
  • Humalog mix 75/25

Your Life with Insulin-Dependent Diabetes

Insulin therapy is not necessary for all people with diabetes. But for those who are insulin-dependent, the proper dosage, and timing of dosages for insulin, is critical. 

If you, or someone you are the caregiver for, needs insulin therapy – be sure to have a full discussion with the doctor treating the diabetes. You need to know all the details. It just might save a life.

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