Individual results may vary.
Insulin is a hormone that is made in your body naturally.
The pancreas, an organ near your stomach, releases
more insulin each time there is a rise in blood sugar levels. Blood sugar levels
usually rise after a person eats a meal. That's when the body takes the food you
ate and turns it into sugar, sometimes called glucose.
The insulin in your body works like a key, unlocking cells to help deliver sugar
from the blood. Every cell in the body has a lock on its cell wall, called a receptor.
Insulin fits into that lock like a key, allowing sugar to enter the cells. When
the body is not able to make enough insulin, blood sugar is locked out of the cells.
When blood sugar is locked out of cells, it stays in the bloodstream. This leads
to blood sugar building up in the bloodstream until blood sugar levels are too high,
which is also called hyperglycemia. This extra sugar
is what makes people feel the symptoms of diabetes, such as often feeling tired
Types of insulin therapy
The first generation of man-made insulin, created in the 1980s, was called "human
insulin." It is available in 3 types: regular human insulin, intermediate-acting,
and premixed. More recently, insulin analogs have
been made. They work in a variety of different ways. Some types of insulin analogs
act more quickly, others more slowly.
Different types of insulin work differently to mimic the way the body normally releases
insulin. They each have a different:
- Onset of action (when they start to work)
- Time of peak action (when their effect on blood sugar
- Duration of action (how long they work)
A more recently developed type of insulin is called "insulin analog." Insulin analog
is available in these types:
- Long-acting. This type works more slowly. It works longer to control blood
sugar between meals and when you sleep. Long-acting insulin is taken either once
or twice a day at the same time every day, often with your evening meal or at bedtime
to help give up to 24-hour insulin coverage. This is often the first insulin prescribed
by your doctor for type 2 diabetes
- Rapid or fast-acting. This type is taken shortly before mealtime. It works
quickly to control the rapid rise in blood sugar after meals. Fast-acting insulin
mimics the body's natural release of insulin at mealtime
- Premixed. For appropriate patients, premixed insulin combines the action
of a rapid and long-acting insulin
Each type of insulin helps keep diabetes under control. But no one type is right
for everyone. Each person's insulin need is different. And each person's insulin
need may change over time.
Insulin analogs are preferred by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists,
or AACE. Your doctor and diabetes care team will prescribe the insulin that is best
The way you are able to take your insulin is constantly improving. For instance,
there are insulin-delivery devices available that are prefilled with insulin. Devices
like the NovoLog® FlexPen®, prefilled with NovoLog® (insulin aspart [rDNA origin]
injection) insulin, are ready to use in just a few steps.