Skip to content

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

About Insulin

Like oral diabetes medications, insulin is an alternative for some people with noninsulin-dependent diabetes who can't control their blood glucose levels with diet and exercise. In special situations, such as surgery and pregnancy, insulin is a temporary but important means of controlling blood glucose.

Sometimes it's unclear whether insulin or oral medications are more effective in controlling blood glucose; therefore, a doctor will consider a person's weight, age, and the severity of the diabetes before prescribing a medicine. Experts do know that weight control is essential for insulin to be effective. A doctor is likely to prescribe insulin if diet, exercise, or oral medications don't work, or if someone has a bad reaction to oral medicines. A person also may have to take insulin if his or her blood glucose fluctuates a great deal and is difficult to control. A doctor will instruct a person with diabetes on how to purchase, mix, and inject insulin. Various types of insulin are available that differ in purity, concentration, and how quickly they work. They also are made differently. In the past, all commercially available insulin came from the pancreas glands of cows and pigs. Today, human insulin is available in two forms: one uses genetic engineering and the other involves chemically changing pork insulin into human insulin. The best sources of information on insulin are the company that makes it and a doctor.

Recommended Related to Diabetes

Diabetes-Friendly Breakfast Ideas

You've heard breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and that's especially true when you have type 2 diabetes. A healthy breakfast can help you control your weight and keep blood sugar stable, says Melissa Joy Dobbins, RD. She's a Chicago-based certified diabetes educator. What should your focus be for the first meal of the day? When you have diabetes, it's key to keep total carbs consistent day to day, get more fiber, choose fewer processed foods, and make heart-healthy choices, Dobbins...

Read the Diabetes-Friendly Breakfast Ideas article > >

Points to Remember

  • Insulin may be used when diet, exercise, or oral medications don't control diabetes.
  • Weight control is important when taking insulin.
  • Insulin is taken in special situations such as surgery and pregnancy.

WebMD Public Information from the U.S. National Institutes of Health

Today on WebMD

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
 
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
 
kenneth fujioka, md
Video
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Article
 
Middle aged person
Tool
Home Healthcare
Video
 

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Article
type 2 diabetes
Slideshow
 
food fitness planner
Tool
feet
Slideshow