Taking Insulin

The major treatment for type 1 diabetics is replacing the insulin that their bodies can no longer make. Several times daily, they receive insulin through injections they give themselves or through a small computerized pump worn at the waist that automatically injects insulin under the skin at the right times. These insulin pumps are already common. In the United States they are worn outside the body on a belt or waistband; in Europe, one version that can be implanted inside the body has been approved for use. In the waistband model, insulin is delivered inside the body through a small tube called a catheter. The implanted version goes under the skin and is refilled with insulin every few months. Some people with type 2 take insulin, too, but often they can regulate their blood sugar by eating healthy foods, exercising, losing weight, and not smoking.

When insulin for use by diabetics was first created, it was made from pig and cow pancreases, so it was not very pure and the quality was often bad. Fortunately, modern medicine can now produce synthetic insulin of the highest quality and purity from genetically engineered bacteria. It is identical to the insulin created by the human pancreas.

This manufactured insulin is also made in four types that act differently in the body in three ways. First is onset, or how long

Among the medical advances to help diabetics manage their disease is an insulin pump that is implanted under the skin, providing an automatic dose of insulin as needed and eliminating the need for daily injections.

after injection the insulin begins to work. Second is peak, or how long after injection the insulin reaches maximum effectiveness. Third is duration, or how long the insulin remains effective.

The four basic types of insulin each have their own onset, peak, and duration. It is common for people with diabetes to use these four types of insulin in various combinations to better manage their illness. The rapid-acting type begins working

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