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.
If it is not controlled, diabetes can cause a host of complications that can affect nearly every organ in the body. Diabetes complications include:
"The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive
and Kidney Diseases of The National Institutes of Health. Noninsulin-Dependent
Diabetes. NIH Publication No. 92-241. September 1992. Last updated February 10,