Why does a person with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin?
A person with type 1 diabetes will need to take insulin for the rest of his or her life. In this case, the person’s immune system mistakenly has attacked and destroyed the pancreas’ beta cells that are responsible for producing insulin. Without insulin to aid blood glucose to be used by the body’s cells, the person’s blood glucose levels rise. There must be some type of replacement—thus, a person with type 1 diabetes must take insulin (usually by injection) every day.
What is insulin shock?
Insulin shock occurs if a person’s blood glucose levels are extremely low, causing him or her to lose consciousness. Such a severe low blood glucose level is considered a medical emergency.
Do people with type 2 diabetes ever have to take insulin injections?
Yes, some people with type 2 diabetes may eventually have to take injections of insulin to stabilize their blood glucose levels, especially if they take oral medications (like metformin) for a long time. (For more about type 2 diabetes and insulin, see the chapter “Prediabetes and Type 2 Diabetes.”)
What are the various types of insulin a person with type 1 diabetes (and sometimes eventually a person with type 2 diabetes) takes?
There are several types of insulin you can take, each serving a different purpose for a person with type 1 diabetes (and sometimes eventually a person with type 2 diabetes). Some are used one at a time, while others can be taken in combination. They include rapid-acting, regular or short-acting, intermediate-acting, long-acting, or pre-mixed. (For more about the various types of insulin, see the chapter “Taking Charge of Diabetes.”)