Insulin

Insulin
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insulinInsulin is both a hormone, and a protein.  Islet cells within a person’s pancreas are responsible for making insulin.  This organ lies right behind your stomach and it has other functions other than being an insulin factory.  The pancreas can make digestive enzymes as well as other hormones needed by our bodies.  When we eat, carbs and sugar products like glucose are absorbed from the intestines and then into the blood stream.  This stimulates the pancreas to make insulin and throw it out there, so to speak.

Almost every cell in our body has insulin receptors which absorb glucose or sugar from our blood.  What if we had little or no, or erratic insulin production?  Then we may need to use diabetes insulin as a substitute.  If something isn’t done, then even though a person eats a lot, they may starve.  Without an insulin injection on a regular basis, and other diabetes treatment,  a person can become very ill.  Insulin must be replaced if a type 1 diabetic doesn’t have it,  by using insulin syringes, insulin therapy, insulin needles or a pump, insulin pens, or by other means.

Type 2 diabetes, which is resistance to insulin rather than deficiency, is far more common.  With type 2, insulin levels in a bloodstream are the same as or a bit higher than people who don’t have diabetes.  Type 2’s cells respond slowly to insulin, so their absorption of sugar is not particularly good.  Blood sugar levels run higher than a normal person’s.  Most of the time, type 2s won’t need inj insulin, but will usually be able to find other methods more useful.

When type 1 diabetics need diabetic medication, they want ease of use, sound medical advice, and info on any side effects to watch out for.  Drug interactions should be noted and mentioned to the doctor.  Type 2 diabetes, is known by the moniker adult onset, because this is when type 2 usually occurs — in adulthood.  Insulin was identified in the 1920s and this won the doctor and medical student (Banting & Best) who identified it, the Nobel Prize.  In experiments on dogs, they discovered that thousands of those pancreatic islet cells were the only things left when digestive cells had been absorbed.

After the medical pair isolated proteins from the islets, they found insulin.  Glucagon and somatostatin and other hormones are also produced by a pancreatic islet, but insulin is in the majority.  At first, insulin came from cows then pigs.  This porcine and bovine hormone was bottled and sold after purification and still works well today, for most human needs.  A percentage of patients have allergies to a foreign protein and in the 80s, medical researchers and manufacturers could create human insulin.

These prescription drugs gave ease of use with little side effects as all human insulin is the same and we don’t see it as a foreign invader in our bodies.  Recombinant DNA technology made this all possible.  Human genes which make insulin were cloned then inserted inside of bacteria, a single celled animal.  Bacteria were tricked into making a continuous supply of insulin.  Big vats of this vital drug are now made and pharmaceutical companies extract pure human insulin from these.

If you have been diagnosed as pre-diabetic, then do find out as much info as you can about the condition.  If you are type 1 or type 2 then your doctor will be able to fill you in on drug information, being insulin resistant as well as the duration of any treatment, whether it’s taking insulin or changing your lifestyle.  Knowledge is definitely power over your body’s health when it comes to insulin.  It’s a vital hormone we need in order to digest food.  Our body’s systems have to work together as efficiently and smoothly as they can in order for us to remain healthy.

There are many types of diabetes treatments and they may or may not require insulin.  Pre-diabetes can be eliminated by diet and exercise, usually.  Type 2 is often brought under control, or reduced or even eliminated by weight reduction and surgery as an end means (if other methods are not working).  Gastric bypasses and lap band procedures are on the rise, in order to keep pace with the rise of type 2 diabetes cases.   Talk to your health care professional first before getting worried about part of your diabetes care.

If your child has type 1 diabetes or is diagnosed with it, then keep updated on new things and products that will help them to be as active and comfortable as they can.  Humans are inventive, and new insulin products to help diabetics are being invented continually.

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