Mayo Clinic Minute: Type 2 diabetes – What you need to know
What It’s Like to Manage Type 2 Diabetes With Insulin
For many people with type 2 diabetes, using injectable insulin is a part of daily life. Whether you use syringes, pens, or a pump, insulin is key to staying in control.
By Everyday Health Editors
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Finding out that controlling your type 2 diabetes requires using injected insulin can be intimidating. Who wants to give themselves a shot every day, or several times a day? But when you must use insulin, you know that it’s a health-giving substance that enables you to lead a normal life and avoid serious complications. Over time, giving yourself a shot or managing your insulin pump becomes second nature.
Insulin plays an essential part in delivering glucose to your cells from your blood. For people who do not have diabetes, this system operates efficiently, with the pancreas excreting exactly the precise amount of insulin needed to keep glucose levels within a normal range. But when you have type 2 diabetes, excess glucose builds up in your blood instead of going into your cells. Injected insulin restores the balance and allows your blood to do its energy-delivery job.
How to Use Insulin
You inject insulin underneath your skin, often several times a day. Depending on your particular situation you will use syringes, injection pens, or an insulin pump that provides a continuous flow of insulin through a very thin tube inserted beneath your skin. Talk over your insulin requirements and your lifestyle with your health care team to determine what’s best for you.
There are several types of insulin available and they vary in how quickly and how long they work in the body. Your doctor will monitor how much your blood sugar fluctuates throughout the day to determine which types of insulin you need, how much, and how often.
You inject the insulin underneath your skin. To deliver the insulin, you might:
- Fill a syringe and give yourself a shot.
- Use an injection pen that delivers a pre-measured dose in a quick jab.
- Wear an insulin pump that provides a continuous flow of insulin through a very thin tube inserted beneath your skin.
Insulin: Why Not a Pill?
Why can’t insulin be taken in pill that you swallow? Because strong stomach enzymes break it down before it can be moved into your cells. Injecting it delivers insulin directly into the blood where it goes to work immediately.
Although there is no cure for type 2 diabetes, there have been significant steps forward in managing the condition. Experts around the world are hard at work on improving existing treatments and developing new ones. For example, researchers are developing new drugs that make the insulin the body produces more effective and new medications that cause the body to produce less glucose. Researchers are also looking for better ways to deliver insulin and reduce the frequency of insulin injections. There’s at least one drug in development that is showing some positive results in clinical trials and may reduce injections to just three times a week.
Video: Managing Type 2 Diabetes
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