History of Insulin and Diabetes





Have you ever wondered what happened to diabetics before the creation of insulin injections? Most Type 1 diabetics before the year 1922 had to starve themselves in order to survive for any length of time. They had to follow an extremely strict diet with very limited intake on most foods, and many foods, they were not able to consume at all. Some diabetics lived for awhile, others did not survive for very long.

Knowledge about insulin is a relatively new thing. It was a Berlin medical student, Paul Langerhans, who first discovered insulin in 1869. It was when Langerhans used a microscope , and noticed a heap of cells in the pancreas which then became known as the Islets of Langerhans. From this point later on. scientists figured out that these cells produce insulin, which in turn regulates carbohydrate metabolism. Back in January of the year 1922, Leonard Thompson, a 14-year-old diabetic,received the first injection of insulin ever. And because the extract was impure at this time, Thompson experienced a severe allergic reaction. And due to this happening, doctors cancelled future insulin injections for Thompson. In later years though, researchers were able to perfect insulin injections. This became the standard way of treating diabetes.



The concentration of insulin you inject can affect the entire body. And that explains why a diabetic person can suffer a multitude of side effects, which include blindness and slow healing wounds. People who suffer from Type 1 diabetes require insulin every day in order to keep living. Type 2 diabetics may require insulin if other diabetes pills and dietary changes are not effective enough in controlling glucose.

Right at this point and time, it is not possible to take insulin by mouth. Instead, insulin is administered through syringes with needles or insulin pens. There are some problems that are associated with insulin in treatment of diabetes. It can be difficult to determine the right dose, which often must be adjusted to meet the needs of the person. If the person taking insulin makes an accidental mistake with their dosage, it can be very dangerous.

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Insulin controls the storage and release of fat, in addition to its role in metabolism. It also controls the cellular uptake of amino acids and electrolytes, and affects small vessel muscle tone. As a whole though, when used correctly, insulin can help restore the body's metabolism to normal levels. Then as a result through proper technique of injections, people can perform at their optimal levels without any problems.

For diabetic sufferers, it is important that your insurance covers your monthly supply of insulin. Coverage for insulin use is mandated by many state laws in the U.S., and even the most affordable health insurance should cover the cost of diabetic medication.

The proper use of insulin is important for those people with type 1 diabetes. It enables them to lead a normal and productive life. Insulin will never be a cure for diabetes of either type 1 or 2. But on the bright side, research is underway to cure diabetes for good and make it a disease of the past. We may be closer to a cure than we think, but then again, it still may also be a long time in coming.



In diabetes treatment, the correct insulin dosage is important, and in fact critical. Insulin is definitely classified according to how long it works in the body as well. There are five different types of insulin. They all range from short acting to the longer acting insulin treatments. Some insulins are cloudy in appearance and others are clear.

People sometimes need varying amounts of both short and long acting insulin. Every person is different and will respond differently according to their own individual needs.

There are many ways now to get insulin into your system. I plan to cover these in more detail in another article.

Methods of taking insulin by mouth are still in development. The first insulin Exhubera was introduced in or around 2005. It has been removed from the market though due to no longer getting it from overseas in their market.

Types of Insulin1. Rapid onset-fast acting insulin. 2. Short acting insulin3. Intermediate acting insulin4. Mixed insulin5. Long acting insulin

Rapid onset-fast acting InsulinRapid acting/fast onset insulin should look totally clear. It is fast acting and starts to work within one to 20 minutes. The peak action is one hour later and will last at least 3 hours and up to 5 hours. When using this type of insulin, you must eat quickly after injection times.

The three rapid-onset insulin types currently are:

1. NovoRapid (known as Aspart)2. Humalog (known as lispro)3. Apidta (known as gluisine)

Short acting insulins

Short acting insulins always look very clear. They begin to lower the blood glucose levels within half an hour. You need to have your injection half an hour before eating.

Short acting insulin has a peak effect at two to four hours, and lasts for between 6 to 8 hours duration. Short acting insulins include:

1. Actrapid2. Humulin3. Hypurin Neutral (bovine which is highly purified beef insulin)

4. Hypurin Neutral (this is highly purified pig insulin. It is available only via Special Access Scheme and not PBS listed.

Intermediate Acting Insulin

Intermediate acting insulins always look cloudy. They have either protamine or zinc added to delay their action. These insulins begin to work about 90 minutes after you inject, and peak at four to twelve hours and last for 16 to 24 hours.

1. Mixed Insulin-always looks cloudy. It contains a pre-mixed combination of either a rapid onset-fast acting or a short acting insulin and intermediate acting insulin. This makes it easier because two types of insulin can be given in one injection.

If the insulin you are using is 30/70 then it contains 30 percent of quick acting and 70 percent of intermediate acting insulin. 50/50 means 50 percent of each.

You need to gently roll the vial or pen between the palms of your hands to make sure the different strengths of insulin are evenly distributed.

The mixed insulins available include

With rapid acting insulin-NovoMix 30 (30 % rapid, 70% intermediate), Humalog Mix 25 (25% Rapid, 75% Intermediate NPH)Humalog Mix 50 (50% Rapid, 50% Intermediate NPH)

Other Mixed insulins-Mixtard 30/70, and Mixtard 50/50. There is also Humulin 30/70

Long Acting Insulin

There are two kinds of long acting insulin, which have a clear appearance to them. They are:

Lantus (glargine insulin)-it has no pronounced peak action at all, which means the insulin is released into your bloodstream at a relevantly constant rate. One injection can last 24 hours.

Levemir is the other long acting insulin of choice. It also has a flat action pretty much, and can last you up to 24 hours and can be given either once or twice during the day.

These are the basic insulins on the market. They all have their unique uses for each individual with diabetes. For more about what is right for you, consult with your medical professional. This article is only given as helpful information.
The basal insulin is always being delivered over your 24 hour daily period, and should help keep your blood sugar levels in your target ranges. And the often, you need to program different amounts of insulin at different times whether it's day or night.

For information on insulin pens, go here.

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