Insulin is a hormone that the body makes to keep blood sugar steady. If you have diabetes, your body may not make enough insulin. Or, it may have trouble using the insulin it makes. To keep blood sugar balanced, your doctor may prescribe insulin.
When you eat carbohydrates, the level of sugar in your blood rises. Insulin is needed to help your cells use the sugar in the food for energy. Insulin injections help your body mimic its normal insulin response. Stress, sleep, activity and other factors can also impact how your body responds to insulin.
To meet your body’s needs, your doctor may prescribe one or more types of insulin. He or she may plan your daily doses to match the amount of carbs you’re eating. If that’s the case, understanding the action of your insulin and timing it accordingly with meals is important. If your timing is off, it could cause a spike or drop in your blood sugar. Your insulin schedule will vary based on your specific needs.
Different types of insulin can affect the body in various ways. Here are some important things to understand about your insulin.
- Onset: The time it takes after injection to start working.
- Peak: The time it takes after injection to have its strongest effect.
- Duration: The amount of time after injection it lasts in your body.
- Dose timing: The best time to take your insulin.
- Purpose: The way it is meant to work in the body.
Concentrated insulins are becoming more popular as well.
Concentrated insulins work like other insulins. They vary from one another in concentration and profile makeup. Some of the current formulas include:
- Toujeo® (Glargine U-300)
- Tresiba® (Degludec U-200)
- Humulin-R® (Regular, U-500)
Because these concentrated insulins may work differently than non-concentrated forms, education is important to avoid errors and hypoglycemia when using them. Be sure to talk with your prescribing physician. You can also Ask a Coach if you have any questions.
Work with your doctor to figure out which insulin is best for you. Your healthcare team will teach you how and when to give yourself insulin. Questions about your insulin routine? Message a coach from the Livongo app or schedule a session.