Insulin is used to control the blood sugar level (in particular, the level of glucose in the blood) in people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. It is especially useful for those who cannot control their glucose level simply with antidiabetic medications.
What is Insulin?
Insulin is a hormone. It works by replacing the insulin that should be produced by the body in the first place. It helps sugars pass from the blood to the tissues, which use them as an energy source. In addition, insulin blocks the release of sugars from the liver.
How should Insulin be taken?
Insulin is typically administered in the form of injections. The dosage varies from patient to patient and depends on the prescribed formulation. The effect of the drug, however, is always the same. The only differences relate to its speed and for how long blood sugar levels will be kept under control.
Side effects associated with Insulin
Among the possible side effects of insulin include the following:
- Swelling, redness and itching at the injection site
- Changes in skin sensation
- Feeling of having very tight skin
- Formation of small holes on the surface of the skin
- Weight gain
You should contact a doctor immediately if you experience:
- Rash or itching all over the body
- Shortness of breath
- Tarnished vision
- Rapid heartbeat
- Difficulty breathing or swallowing
- Muscle cramps
- Abnormal heartbeat
- Considerable and quick weight gain
- Swelling of arms, hands, feet, ankles or calves
Contraindications and warnings associated with the use of Insulin
When undergoing treatment with insulin, it is important to be aware of alcohol consumption. Alcohol can cause a reduction in blood sugar levels. It is also necessary to speak with a doctor about what to do in case of illness, stress, travel or changes in physical activity levels. Treatment with insulin must be combined with regular monitoring the blood glucose levels.
Before starting treatment with insulin, it is important to tell your doctor if:
- You have any allergies to the active substance, its excipients or any other drugs or food
- You are taking any other medications, herbal remedies or supplements. Mentioning in particular: alpha- and beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, antidepressants, asparaginase, diazoxide, diuretics, drugs for asthma or colds, MAO inhibitors, hormonal contraceptives, niacin, octreotide, oral agents, oral steroids, quinine, quinidine, salicylates (such as aspirin), sulfa antibiotics or thyroid medicine
- You are suffering (or have suffered) from nerve damage caused by diabetes, heart failure or heart problems, adrenal disorders, pituitary gland disorders, thyroid disorders, liver or kidney disorders
- You are pregnant or breast-feeding
It is also important to inform physicians, surgeons and dentists of any ongoing treatment with insulin.