What Is The Role Of Insulin In Diabetes?
Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas. Its primary function is to convert the carbohydrate into usable sugar for the body cells. If the insulin produced by the body is less or not used efficiently, it can lead to the development of the symptoms of diabetes.
How Does Insulin Control Blood Sugar Levels?
Insulin is the hormone which helps the body cells to utilize sugar present in the bloodstream.
- The cells in the human body cannot process the sugar from carbohydrates directly.
- So, after every meal the level of sugar/glucose in blood increases. The pancreas is signaled to release insulin into the bloodstream.
- Insulin binds to a glycoprotein receptor on the cell’s surface.
- This receptor consists of a protein kinase that gets activated and helps the cells to absorb glucose from the bloodstream.
- This glucose can be immediately converted into energy or cells can store the glucose for later use.
Insulin And Type 1 Diabetes
In type 1 diabetes, the body produces insufficient insulin to regulate blood sugar levels. Without the presence of insulin, many of the body’s cells cannot take glucose from the blood.
Insulin And Type 2 Diabetes
In type 2 diabetes, the body produces insulin from the pancreas but it is ineffective due to insulin resistance. As a result the body is less able to take up glucose from the blood.
How Does Insulin Help To Store And Breakdown Fats?
Along with enabling cells to absorb glucose, Insulin helps in body metabolism. It is the hormone that is responsible for a cell’s decision to store glucose as fat or use the same. To control the blood glucose level, insulin signals the liver and fat cells to absorb glucose from the blood. The liver can store 5 percent of glucose as glycogen. If there is excess sugar in the blood, insulin triggers fat cells to store this glucose in the form of triglycerides. It also inhibits the breakdown of fats.
In type 1 diabetes, the body is not capable of producing insulin. Similarly, in type 2 diabetes, the insulin produced by the body is not enough or cannot be used efficiently to convert glucose into energy.
To compensate for this deficiency insulin therapy is useful. This therapy includes injecting synthetic recombinant insulin.
- In type 1 diabetes patients, exogenous insulin injection would replace the lack of production of insulin by the pancreas.
- In type 2 diabetes, as it is a chronic condition the pancreas generates less insulin over time, 50% of persons will require insulin 6-10 years after being diagnosed.
Types of Insulin
Insulin’s are of various types depending on their duration of action.
- Long acting and ultra long acting insulin usually are used to control the sugar levels before meals and in fasting state.
- Short acting and rapid acting insulin are used to manage high blood sugars after a meal because they usually have a peak of action.
The insulin dosage cannot be administered as an oral pill because the acid medium in the stomach destroy the insulin completely before it is absorbed in the blood stream. The other options are delivered using a pen or an insulin pump or through an inhaler.
Choosing the best insulin dosage regime for one’s requirement helps the diabetic patient to overcome the complications that can arise in micro vascular and macro vascular level.