What to Know About Insulin Resistance and Type 2 Diabetes
Insulin plays an important role in many processes in the body, including helping glucose to enter the cells from the blood so that it can be used for energy.
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, insulin resistance occurs when the cells in your liver, fat, and muscles do not respond well to insulin. This causes your pancreas to release more insulin to help glucose enter your cells to be used for energy. Insulin resistance does not normally cause any symptoms. However, it may develop into prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.
When the body can no longer produce enough insulin for the sufficient uptake of glucose by the cells, the concentration of blood sugars will rise, leading to prediabetes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 84 million adults in America have prediabetes, and 90 percent are unaware of it. Prediabetes occurs when people have higher concentrations of blood sugar in their blood than normal but that are not high enough for a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. Many people who have prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes, however.
What is Insulin?
Insulin is a hormone that is produced by your pancreas. This hormone helps your body to use glucose from carbohydrates as energy. Glucose is a sugar that is burned by your cells for energy. You can also store glucose for your body to use later. Insulin helps to regulate the amount of sugar in your blood, keeping you from developing hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia. According to EndocrineWeb, sugar is needed by your cells for energy, but it cannot enter your cells directly without help from insulin. When your blood sugar level increases after you eat, beta cells in your pancreas release insulin. The insulin then signals cells to allow sugar to enter by attaching to them.
Insulin-resistant people have a weaker response to insulin and require more of it to help glucose enter their cells. As long as the pancreas is able to produce enough insulin, people will continue to have normal levels of blood sugar. However, people may eventually become resistant to insulin to such a degree that they are not able to produce enough insulin to handle their blood sugar levels. They may then develop prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. People who develop type 2 diabetes may be prescribed insulin to take as a supplement to help to control their blood sugar levels.
Types of Insulin
There are four primary types of insulin that are used to treat diabetes. The different types of insulin differ in how rapidly they act and how long they last. Insulin may be administered by an injection pen, syringe, or insulin pump.
Rapid-acting insulin begins working about 15 minutes after it is injected. This type of insulin peaks about one hour after it is taken but continues working for up to four hours. Rapid-acting insulin is normally taken along with a long-acting insulin and is taken before a meal.
Short-acting insulin is also taken before a meal and is used in conjunction with a long-acting insulin. It peaks in about two to three hours after it has been taken and begins working about 30 minutes after it is injected. Short-acting insulin continues to work for up to six hours.
Intermediate-acting insulin is taken two times per day and is used in conjunction with a short- or rapid-acting insulin. This type of insulin begins to work about two to four hours after it is injected. It peaks around four to 12 hours later and lasts for 12 to 18 hours.
Long-acting insulin begins to work a few hours after it is injected. This form of insulin continues to work for 24 hours per day. It may be used with a short- or rapid-acting insulin if it is necessary.
The Side Effects of Using Insulin
There are several potential side effects of taking insulin that you should understand. One of the most dangerous potential side effects of taking insulin is developing hypoglycemia, which is a low blood sugar concentration. This can occur when the dose of insulin that you take is too high and may cause seizures, impaired functioning of your brain, or a coma.
Another side effect of insulin is weight gain. Since it is a hormone that promotes your body’s ability to store nutrients, it can lead to an increase in the storage of body fat. You can talk to your doctor about a nutrition strategy to use that might help you to control your weight while you are taking insulin.
Some people have allergic reactions, including swelling, itching and a rash at the injection site. Allergic reactions do not happen as frequently now because the insulin that is used is no longer formulated from cows or pigs.
You might also develop scars or lumps in areas in which you have injected yourself with insulin. You can lessen the risk of scarring by varying the injection sites that you choose.
Insulin may interact with other drugs that you take, including some over-the-counter medications. Before taking insulin, it is important that you talk to your doctor and pharmacist about all the drugs that you take, including nutritional supplements and over-the-counter medications.
Insulin plays a vital role in the proper functioning of your body. If you develop type 2 diabetes, you will need to supplement your body’s ability to produce insulin so that your blood sugar level does not get too high. If you are prescribed insulin, it is important that you follow your doctor’s recommendations and watch your diet carefully.