Insulin for diabetics: From painless shots to dosages, 5 things you need to know | health | Hindustan Times
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Insulin for diabetics: From painless shots to dosages, 5 things you need to know

Estimates show that there are millions of diabetics living healthy and reproductive lives today because of insulin. Still there are many myths surrounding this elixir of life. Here are 5 facts you must know about insulin.

health Updated: Aug 08, 2017 09:19 IST
Dr Ajay Aggarwal
The discovery of insulin was one of the most revolutionary moments in medicine, which saved millions of lives.
The discovery of insulin was one of the most revolutionary moments in medicine, which saved millions of lives. (Shutterstock)

With India being declared as the diabetes capital of the world, a basic understanding on insulin is required. The name ‘insulin’ comes from the Latin insula, for islands. It refers to the pancreatic islets of Langerhans that contain the beta cells wherein insulin is produced. The discovery of insulin was one of the most revolutionary moments in medicine, which saved millions of lives. Estimates show there are millions of diabetics living healthy and reproductive lives today because of insulin. Still there are many, who struggle with the thought of insulin because of what they have heard about it.

Here are 5 facts you must know about insulin:

1. It’s a natural hormone which is the elixir of life.

Insulin is a natural hormone our body creates and utilises to manage the sugar content in blood. It functions like a key. It unlocks cells and enables glucose to enter them thus providing fuel and energy to the body.

2. It prevents long-term complications of diabetes.

Recent studies have shown that early and appropriate use of insulin can not only prevent short-term complications, but can potentially alter the natural progression of the disease. Depending upon the levels of blood sugar, insulin maybe prescribed at any stage of diabetes. In some cases, a diabetic is immediately put on insulin e.g. during pregnancy, any illness, infection or surgery as stress produces hormones which make insulin ineffective.

3. Taking insulin is painless now. It, however, still can’t be taken orally.

Modern-day insulin shots are virtually painless. Due to advances in medical devices, newer insulin needles are much smaller and thinner making the intake of insulin almost painless. However, oral insulin is still not available for human use. Scientists are busy making the intake of insulin easier for humans, but it is still a dream.

4. Dosage differs for everyone.

Every person is different — so each person needs their own dose of insulin as calculated and adjusted by their physician. Factors like activity levels, eating habits, weight or type of insulin used are important parameters.

5. There is neither a solution to diabetes management nor are all medicines given for diabetics insulin.

Insulin along with balanced diet and regular exercise is a cornerstone of diabetes management. If you eat a poor diet or don’t exercise, insulin alone cannot be a substitute for it. None of the available oral medications for diabetes are actually insulin. They act on various parts of the body to help produce more insulin or make the available insulin more effective.

Courtesy: Dr Ajay Aggarwal, MD (Med.), DM( Endocrinology), Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, New Delhi

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