What is insulin, and how does it affect you? This is what
you may be wondering if you have been diagnosed with or are at risk for diabetes.
Individuals with type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes should all learn more
about insulin and the impact that it has on them.
Insulin is a hormone that is produced by the pancreas. Hormones
are protein molecules that travel in the blood and allow cells to send signals
to each other. The body produces insulin in response to sugar levels in the
body. Insulin helps the body’s cells extract sugar from the blood into the
cell, where the sugar can be used to produce energy.
Types of Diabetes and
Individuals who do not have normal insulin levels may have one
of three types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetics, who only account for 5 percent of
all people diagnosed with diabetes, are unable to produce insulin on their own.
Type 1 diabetics are commonly referred to as insulin-dependent, because they
require insulin injections to treat their condition.
Type 2 diabetics, who make up 90 to 95 percent of all
diagnosed cases of diabetes, do produce their own insulin. Individuals with
type 2 diabetes experience insulin resistance, which means that their bodies
are unable to use the insulin that they do produce, according to the University
of Maryland Medical Center. Due to their bodies' resistance to insulin, type 2
diabetics are sometimes referred to as insulin-resistant and require insulin
injections to trigger a response from the body’s cells
The third type of diabetes, which is called gestational
diabetes, only occurs during pregnancy and is usually temporary. Like type 2
diabetics, women with gestational diabetes are resistant to insulin. According
to the American Pregnancy Association, diabetes may develop during pregnancy
because of unique substances released by the placenta. It is important that
pregnant women be screened for gestational diabetes because high sugar levels
can adversely affect the baby’s growth and development.
A balanced diet and regular exercise routine are recommended
to all sufferers of diabetes. Following a healthy diet helps control blood
glucose levels, while exercise helps lower blood glucose levels and ensures
that the body is able to use insulin more efficiently.
For type 2 diabetics and women with gestational diabetes,
lifestyle changes may eliminate the need for medications or insulin injections.
Be sure to check with your healthcare provider before making any significant
lifestyle changes, however. For type 1 diabetics, who require insulin
injections, the amount of insulin that is being prescribed should be balanced
with food intake and physical activity level. Careful monitoring is necessary
for treating this condition.
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, it's important to
visit a licensed healthcare provider regularly to treat and manage your
condition. Regulating insulin dosing and glucose levels play a key role in
effective treatment of type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes.