Insulin Replacement Therapy


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Insulin is a hormone that occurs naturally within the blood. It acts to increase the amount of sugar we absorb from our blood into the cells of our bodies. In diabetes the amount of this hormone produced naturally can fall, so it is sometimes essential to supplement this with a synthetically made insulin. Only some diabeteics need insulin supplementation, your doctor will give you more information if you do.

There are a number of insulin replacement strategies and compounds that can be used if you have diabetes, ranging from fast release insulins to insulin pumps. Essentially there are 4 different types of insulin, depending on their onset, duration and time when they are most effective. Using these characteristics, insulin replacement therapies can be split into rapid, short, intermediate and long lasting. These work right the way through from immediately up to 20 hours after administration, allowing you to select the correct drug depending on your needs.

Once administered, the insulin tells the cells within your body to store the glucose in your cells as a special compound called glycogen. This is easy to store and can be broken down at a later date to help produce energy. It is vital that the levels of sugar (glucose) within your blood are not allowed to rise too much as this can lead to serious problems such as unconciuosness and coma. This is prevented by using synthetic insulin after meals.