Diabetes is a chronic health condition affecting millions of people. According to data from the CDC, approximately 37.3 million people in the U.S. have diabetes, and 96 million aged 18 years or older are prediabetic. In most cases, people are diagnosed with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Both are similar but require a very different approaches to treating and managing. Type 1 diabetes is the more serious diabetic diagnosis. If you are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, your pancreas doesn’t make insulin or makes very little insulin. Insulin helps blood sugar enter your body’s cells for energy use. Without insulin, blood sugar builds up in the bloodstream causing high blood sugar. High blood sugar is the cause of many complications of diabetes.
Information from the CDC outlines Type 1 diabetes as an autoimmune reaction where the body attacks itself. This reaction destroys pancreatic cells that make insulin. Some people have specific genes that make them more likely to develop type 1 diabetes.
Type 1 Diabetes Treatment and Management
Type 1 diabetes is treated with either insulin shots or an insulin pump. Insulin is a hormone created by your pancreas that controls the amount of glucose in your bloodstream. It also helps store glucose in your liver, fat, and muscles. Finally, it regulates your body’s carbohydrates, fats, and proteins metabolism. Sound important? That’s because it is. If your body doesn’t make insulin or doesn’t make enough, you are eventually diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) characterizes insulin by how fast it works. If you have diabetes, you should practice patience and vigilance in the time it takes for the insulin to reach your bloodstream. Keep in mind that everyone’s body is different and how your body reacts will be different than others, so monitor closely with your endocrinologist or diabetic care team. Today, there are five main types of insulin that doctors prescribe.
- Rapid-Acting Insulin – this type of insulin affects blood glucose approximately 15 minutes after injection. It peaks in about an hour and then continues to work for a few more.
- Short-Acting Insulin – short-acting insulin reaches your bloodstream within 30 minutes and peaks within 2- to the 3-hours, remaining effective for 3 to 6 hours.
- Intermediate-Acting Insulin – this category involves a neutral protamine Hagedorn (NPH), helping control glucose for up to 12 hours. Protamine is a type of protein that slows the action of this insulin.
- Long-Acting Insulin – acting slower than the rapid or short-acting, this insulin type enters the bloodstream within 1 to 2 hours and may be effective for as long as 24 hours. An advantage to long-acting insulin is there is no pronounced peak, and it works more like typical pancreatic insulin.