Insulin is a hormone that occurs naturally in the body and can also be given by injection as a treatment for diabetes. Naturally-occurring insulin is made by the beta cells of the Islets of Langerhans located in the pancreas. It helps the cells of the body to uptake glucose (sugar) found in the carbohydrates we eat so that it can be used as energy or stored for later use. Insulin also controls glucose release from the liver. One of the main roles of insulin is to keep blood glucose levels from going too high (hyperglycemia) or too low (hypoglycemia).
People with type 1 diabetes do not make enough insulin to satisfy their body's needs or make none at all. Insulin given by injection acts similarly to naturally occurring insulin. There are more than 20 different types of insulin available for diabetes treatment in the United States. The various types of insulin differ in several ways: such as source (animal, human or genetically engineered), the time for insulin to take effect and the length of time the insulin remains working (ie, rapid acting, short acting, intermediate acting, long acting or very long acting).
Insulin is used to treat Type 1 diabetes and it may be used together with oral medications in the later stages of Type 2 diabetes.
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