Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas that turns glucose into energy and keeps your blood sugar levels in check. Whenever blood sugar levels increase the pancreas will release more insulin to absorb the sugar and store it away in the liver until the body needs it.

However, if your body doesn’t produce enough insulin you can develop hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar. The most common disorder associated with blood sugar is diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is present at birth while type 2 diabetes develops over time. With type 1 diabetes, the cells within the pancreas are damaged, which prevents the body from producing insulin. In this situation, insulin injections are required to manage blood sugar levels.

Those with type 2 diabetes are either resistant to insulin or do not respond the same way as healthy individuals. In this case, oral medication or insulin injections may be prescribed along with lifestyle modifications (e.g. diet and exercise). There are different kinds of insulin treatments that may be prescribed:

  • Rapid-acting: This medication will kick in after about 15 minutes, with full effects being reached within one hour. This medication is taken before meals and is often used in conjunction with long-acting insulin.
  • Short-acting: Effects from this medication occur about 30 minutes after the injection but will continue to work for up to 6 hours. Just like rapid-acting insulin, this is taken right before a meal and is often used in conjunction with long-acting insulin.
  • Intermediate-acting: Since the medication doesn’t take effect for anywhere from 2-4 hours you will usually take this medication twice a day. This insulin will continue to work for up to 18 hours.
  • Long-acting: This medication will begin to take effect several hours after it’s been injected but will continue to work for a full 24 hours.

The type of medication your doctor will prescribe will depend on several factors including the type of diabetes you have, your lifestyle, and your blood sugar levels. As with any medication, you may experience side effects while taking insulin. It is important to talk to your doctor if you experience any issues or you have any concerns about your health while taking this medication. While side effects of insulin aren’t common it’s important to understand what to look for when it comes to potential issues.

You may notice some soreness, redness or even itching near the injection site. These symptoms are mild and often go away within a day or two. If you experience nausea or vomiting regularly while taking this medication, this could be a sign of an allergy and should be discussed with your doctor right away.

While taking insulin you should be monitoring your blood sugar levels regularly to make sure the medication is working. If you are still experiencing high blood sugar levels while on your medication, your doctor may need to prescribe a different medication.

If you have just started taking insulin to manage your diabetes or if you have questions along the way you want to be able to turn to a doctor you can trust. Our doctor Dr. James Rybacki’s main goal is to make sure that all patients understand the medications they are taking to prevent serious complications from occurring. Learn more about Essential Guide to Prescription Drugs today.

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