Please enter your login details

Guide to Diabetes

Insulin Therapy .......Why?

Please write your picture caption here

You may be started on Insulin therapy for a variety of reasons.

 

For people with Type 1 Diabetes insulin is the only treatment. Insulin will be started as soon as Type 1 diabetes is diagnosed. This is because there is no insulin produced naturally by the pancreas. The insulin producing cells in the pancreas (beta cells) are being destroyed. 

For people with Type 2 Diabetes, you may become 'insulin resistant' as time goes by and all your diabetes tablets are at the maximum dose. This means that tablets can no longer keep your blood glucose levels under control and so insulin will have to be started.

 

What is insulin? 

insulin hormone

 

  • Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas, a gland which lies behind the stomach.
  • The insulin is produced in the beta cells.
  • Insulin allows glucose in the blood to get into the cells where it can be used for energy or storage.
  • By doing this insulin controls and maintains your blood glucose within the target range between 4mmol-7mmol.
  • Insulin can not be swallowed as the acid the stomach will destroy, so it needs to be injected

 

Sources of insulin


Insulin can be from a variety of sources

  • Human Insulin that is produced by genetic engineering to match human insulin not taken from humans (synthetic)
  • Animal Insulin- produced and purified from pork or beef cells
  • Analogue insulins, scientifically modified insulin


Types of insulin


There are many types of Insulin available to treat diabetes and the type of insulin you will be prescribed will be specific to you. It is important to make a note of the type of insulin you are taking, the delivery method e.g. (Pens), the dosage you have been prescribed and the time when you need take it.

 

Type 2 Diabetes- Insulin resistant?


This is when your own insulin doesn’t work very efficiently. Initially combinations of dietary changes, increasing physical activity and oral tablets will be advised to keep blood glucose within the normal range 4-7mmol/l  to maintain health and reduce the risk of complications.


The problem is that Type 2 Diabetes is progressive, and as time goes by, the beta cells become more damaged and produce less & less insulin. This means that when the tablets can no longer keep blood sugars at satisfactory levels, insulin will need to be started.

 

Approximately 50% of people with type 2 diabetes will require insulin after being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes for 7-10 years.

 

When should insulin be started?


Your diabetes team will be supporting you to manage your diabetes, and a regular blood test known as HbA1c will determine what your average blood sugars are over a three month period. Generally you should aim to have a HbA1c level of 7% or 53 mmol/mol below if you are at risk of diabetes complications eg heart disease or stroke, then it should be 6.5 % or 48 mmol/mol.

 

But I already take tablets?


If you are on maximum and the highest dose of tablets, eating the recommended diet, and being as physically active as your general health allows and still finding that your blood glucose levels are high and you have a raised HbA1c your diabetes team will start recommending insulin be initiated. It is perfectly normally to feel anxious about starting insulin. Everybody worries that they won’t be able to cope with administering injections, that it will be very painful and that they may make a ‘mistake.’ 
 

What’s important to remember is that insulin will make you feel better, give you more energy, take away any symptoms you may have and improve your blood glucose control. Your diabetes team will help and support you through the processes and will be available for advice and on-going help. 

 

What will I have to do before insulin is started?


Before you are started on insulin you will need to be able to monitor your own blood  glucose using a meter. This is very important, as when you start insulin you will only be started on a small dose, probably insufficient for your needs. Testing your own blood glucose levels allows you to learn so much about your diabetes and you should develop a much better understanding of what effects your diabetes and how to make insulin work for you to achieve desired targets. 
 

The diabetes nurse and doctor will need to review your blood glucose levels so they can discuss with you how you can change your insulin doses and what targets you should be aiming for.

 

Types of insulin precribed for you


There are many types of Insulin available to treat diabetes and the type of insulin you will be prescribed will be specific to you. It is important to make a note of the type of insulin you are taking, the delivery method e.g. (Pens), the dosage you have been prescribed and the time when you need take it.
 

Long term aim


The long term aim for most people with diabetes on insulin is that you learn how to make decisions about your insulin dose through monitoring your own diabetes and experiences.

Insulin is unlike other medicine you may get from your doctor because the dose you require at each injection may vary dependent on the food you are eating, your personal lifestyle, activities and wellbeing or illness.
 

You diabetes team will help you self manage your insulin therapy and diabetes.

 

How we can help


In Leicestershire we are trying to work with people with diabetes, helping and supporting them in this process. There are structured education, group and individual sessions available both in your locality and at the main hospitals throughout Leicester.