basal insulin facts

Type 2 diabetes is affecting an increasing number of people all over the world. According to the World Health Organization, the total number of deaths caused by diabetes is set to increase by up to 50 percent within the next 10 years.

If you have type 2 diabetes or are close to someone who does, you might assume that you know all about this condition. But you might be amazed to learn that there are still things you don’t know.

Diabetes statistics

Fact 1: Over 25 percent of people who have diabetes don’t know it.

According to the American Diabetes Association, 29.1 million people in the United States have diabetes, which is about 9.3 percent of the population. And 8.1 million of those people are currently undiagnosed.

Fact 2: In the U.S., it’s the 7th leading cause of death.

Diabetes kills more than 76,000 people in the United States each year, making it the 7th leading cause of death, after Alzheimer’s disease. Also, many times those who die of heart-related diseases have these issues due to diabetes and its effect on blood vessel health.

Fact 3: More and more young people are getting it.

There is an alarming rise in the number of young people under the age of 20 who are diagnosed with diabetes. Some 208,000 youths are diagnosed with the disease each year in the United States alone. The rates of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are increasing in adolescents.

Fact 4: Diabetes affects some communities more than others.

Diabetes can strike anyone, but some ethnic groups are more at risk. A study published in the journal Current Diabetes Report focused on the epidemiology of diabetes and its complications based on ethnicity. Researchers found that the prevalence of diabetes among Native Americans is higher at 33 percent, while Asian Americans have a prevalence of 8.4 percent. African-Americans, Hispanics, and Pacific Islanders are also at higher risk.

Fact 5: It causes 11 million ER visits in the U.S. each year.

Diabetes can cause nephropathy, retinopathy, neuropathy, stroke, and heart disease. This is because high blood sugar levels cause damage and oxidative stress throughout the body. In 2009, there were 11,492,000 emergency room visits due to diabetes complications, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Basal insulin facts

Basal insulin is the insulin that works in the background between meals and overnight. This means it’s the insulin at work while you are sleeping and during the times between meals. So, let’s take a look on the not so known facts about basal insulin.

Fact 1: Basal insulin is also used by people who have type 1 diabetes.

Basal insulin therapy is used by people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Glucose is continuously released by the liver throughout the day when there is no food being digested. There are different ways that different types of insulin can mimic the action of this basal insulin in the body.

For people with type 1 and 2 diabetes, long-acting insulin is injected once or twice a day to mimic basal insulin. Those with type 1 would then take insulin to cover mealtimes. Mealtime treatment for type 2 diabetes varies.

For those with type 1 diabetes who are on a pump, quick-acting insulin is delivered at a low rate continuously throughout the day and night, and then a “bolus” amount of insulin is given to cover meals. Using the insulin pump is a good way to adjust the basal insulin levels in a very precise manner. You can program the basal insulin output such that it can match the body’s normal insulin production.

One study looked into the efficacy of basal insulin in being able to improve the A1c values of people under 21 who have type 1 diabetes. There was a significant reduction in their A1c levels as well as reduced nocturnal hypoglycemia, compared to other types of treatments.

Fact 2: Basal insulin needs differ between men and women.

Women can experience hormone fluctuations due to menstruation, stress, pregnancy, illness, or even by doing strenuous exercises. These factors can affect and decrease insulin sensitivity.

Fact 3: Basal insulin controls blood sugar before a surgery.

When you have diabetes, undergoing surgery brings even more complications. Most doctors require their patients to have a blood sugar level between 140 mg/dL and 180 mg/dL before they clear them for the operation. That’s because undergoing surgery with high blood sugar levels can lead to post-operative infections, readmission, longer hospital stays, and even death. Many surgeons prescribe basal insulin to improve the blood sugar levels of patients prior to their operation.

Fact 4: Basal insulin may interact with other drugs.

Some medications are known to interact with basal insulin. For instance, basal insulin glargine is known to interact with rosiglitazone, pioglitazone, and other oral medications for diabetes. This interaction can lead to side effects like an elevated risk of serious heart problems. Other medications that may interact with basal insulin include warfarin, aspirin, Lipitor, and paracetamol.

Aside from medications, basal insulin also interacts with alcohol. Intake of alcohol can affect the blood sugar levels in patients with diabetes that can lead to either hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia, depending on the frequency of alcohol consumption. Often acute alcohol intake can lead to low blood sugar, which is why it is recommended that people with diabetes on insulin eat when drinking, and moderate intake.

If you’re going to start with your basal insulin therapy, inform your doctor about the types of medications that you’re taking and also talk about your current lifestyle.