A successful treatment for diabetes is based on an personalized strategyagreed on between the patient and the health care team. The purpose is to achieve normal glycemia and prevent complications.
Insulin is a vital tool in managing diabetes. A clear understanding of insulin action, types, and side effects is essential to better manage the disease.
Types of Insulin
Insulin currently available is purified human recombinant DNA. It is very well tolerated and results in fewer antibody and allergic reactions than the animal-derived insulin used in the past.
In someone who does not have diabetes, the pancreas delivers a small amount of insulin continuously to cover the body’s non-food related insulin needs (basal insulin) and another amount to cover what we eat on each meal (bolus insulin).What we try to do with insulin treatment is to imitate this normal regulation.
The classification of insulin is made upon the expected onset, peak, and duration of its action. That said, we have the following types currently available:
- Rapid acting
- Short acting
- Intermediate acting
- Long acting
It is very important to discuss with your healthcare team the most appropriate method for insulin administration.
Syringes were the first method used for insulin administration. Nowadays, these syringes have fine short needles making the injection less distressing than before.
Pens can be either reusable or disposable (prefilled with insulin). The pens allow a single-use needle to be screwed onto the end for injection.
Insulin Pumps are devices at the size of a pager used to deliver insulin through flexible tubing that attaches the device to the person.
Important tips for insulin administration
- Store insulin in the refrigerator never in the freezer (store at room temperature during winter)
- Always check expiration dates
- Change the injection site as often as possible
- Do not expose insulin to heat and sunlight
- Keep away from children
- Consult your physician before using a new method to deliver insulin
Oral Diabetes Medications are usually used in Type 2 diabetes to control glycemia.Type 1 diabetes is mainly treated with insulin and lifestyle modifications, gestational diabetes is treated with lifestyle modifications and sometimes medication.
Five classes of diabetes medication are currently available depending on their mode of action.
Knowledge of the action and side effects of oral diabetes medications,as well as the pathophysiology of Type 2 diabetes is essential for better glycemia management and a more appropriate medical nutrition therapy.