Why do I have to inject insulin several times a day

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The object of insulin therapy is to imitate the body's natural supply of insulin as closely as possible. In a person who does not have diabetes, insulin is released by the pancreas in response to food. As the blood glucose level falls between meals, so the insulin level drops back towards zero. It never quite gets there, however, and there is no time in the 24 hours when there is no detectable insulin in the bloodstream. What you are trying to do when you give yourself insulin injections is to reproduce the normal pattern ofinsulin production from the pancreas.

There are several ways of doing this using different types ofinsulin and numbers of injections per day. For example, many people follow a system which comprises three injections of short-acting insulin before the three main meals of the day, plus a night-time injection of a medium- or long-acting insulin to control blood glucose while they are asleep. Another popular and equally successful system involves two injections a day of a mixture of short- and medium-acting insulin. The idea is that the short-acting component covers the meal you are about to have - for example, breakfast or the evening meal - while the medium-acting component covers you at lunchtime or overnight. Many people have been using one or other ofthese systems very happily for years, and the choice between them is often simply a matter of personal preference.

Ifyou are one of the relatively few people who simply cannot get used to giving yourself several injections a day, or ifyou have only a partial failure of your insulin supply, you may be able to make do with just one or two daily injections of medium-or long-acting insulin.

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