June 27, 2008, Newsletter Issue #160: The Role of Insulin in Diabetes Treatment

Tip of the Week

Insulin assists your body in managing blood sugar, by transporting the sugar circulating in your bloodstream, into your cells, to be used as fuel.

Insulin is normally created by cells in your pancreas called "islet cells." If your body does not make enough insulin, or loses the capacity to effectively use the insulin that your pancreas creates, you may need to have supplemental injections of insulin to control your blood sugars. This is called Type I diabetes, or insulin-dependent diabetes.

Without insulin to transport the sugar into the cells, the sugar remains in your bloodstream, giving you high blood glucose readings.

If the cells do not have sugar to use for fuel, your body then begins to use muscle and fat, as a fuel source. The byproducts of muscle and fat metabolism are called ketones, which are a poison to your system, and can cause coma and death.

Having enough usable insulin in your bloodstream is a key part of your diabetes treatment, and in controlling your blood sugars and preventing build-up of ketones in your body.

If your body is unable to make enough insulin, or a usable type of insulin, your physician will prescribe insulin injections to help your body metabolize sugar and reduce the risk for complications associated with high blood sugar.




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