Insulin is a hormone that helps to control blood glucose levels. The blood sugar and insulin levels in your body indicate your body’s control of glucose and insulin secretion.
Our bodies rely on two hormones, namely insulin and glucagon, to maintain a constant blood-glucose level for the normal functioning of the body. Medical conditions such as diabetes, obesity, acromegaly, Cushing’s syndrome and insulinomas can affect the insulin levels.
According to the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse, the ideal amount of insulin in a diabetic person should be under 10 IU/mL. Any level above 10 IU/mL means that the patient must now reduce the amount of food stimulating excessive insulin production.
Regulate sugar in the bloodstream:The primary function of insulin is to ascertain that the level of sugar in the bloodstream is within a normal range. When one eats, carbohydrates break down into sugar and enter the bloodstream in the form of glucose. The pancreas complements the process by producing insulin, allowing sugar to enter the tissues and form energy.
Storage of excess glucose for energy:After you eat, the level of insulin in the bloodstream become higher. This excess glucose is stored in the liver in the form of glycogen. The insulin levels dip between meals and to make up for it, the liver releases glycogen into the bloodstream in the form of sugar to keep blood sugar levels within a healthy range.
In diabetes, the body is either unable to produce adequate insulin levels or the cells do not receive it. Those with type 1 diabetes are usually given insulin shots every day. Type 2 diabetes patients are given insulin shots only when diet, physical activity and tablets do not help manage their blood glucose levels.
To manage blood sugar levels, oral medications are given to the patients. If they don’t respond to these, they are given insulin injections or pens. In most cases, insulin shots are given before bedtime as the liver is most active in producing glucose at night.
You can easily measure and monitor blood glucose levels at home but the insulin levels have to be checked in a clinical laboratory. If your insulin levels are high or low, consult your doctor to understand the meaning of your test result. Your doctor may recommend testing of fasting blood insulin levels to help diagnose several conditions like insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
Knowing how insulin works in diabetics can be of great help in keeping an effective control of the soaring blood sugar levels. All those who suffer from type1 diabetes and some cases of type 2 diabetes need insulin injections. Women suffering from gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) are also given insulin shots. With well-balanced diet and exercise regime, insulin therapy works wonders for diabetics as it prevents diabetic complications.
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