When Does Type-2 Diabetes Require or Need Insulin?

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Insulin is responsible to help cells of the body in absorbing glucose or sugar from the bloodstream. It is made in pancreas by special cells called ‘beta cells’. While taking additional insulin (insulin replacement /injection) is very common in people with type-1 diabetes, do people with type-2 diabetes also need to take it? If so, when do you require it?

Normally, when we eat or after meals, the body will produce more insulin to be released in the bloodstream. The release of this hormone is to help absorb and move glucose into cells of the body for energy. This natural mechanism is required to keep our blood sugar level normal!

Insulin in type-1 and type-2 diabetes

In type-1, there is no insulin produced by beta cells of pancreas. In other words, the beta cells are no longer to work or even have been destroyed by the immune system without known reason (this condition called autoimmune disease).

Doctors still don’t know why the immune system fights against the production of insulin in the pancreas. Fortunately, type-1 is rare. Most cases of the disease are diagnosed before the age of 20.

How about type-2 diabetes? Unlike in type-1, the beta cells of pancreas still work and produce some insulin. It has nothing to do with autoimmune disease!

But in type-2, the production of this hormone still doesn’t meet to the body needs. Or insulin resistance is to blame — this is a condition of poor insulin sensitivity so the body’s cells don’t respond to the hormone effectively. Even though if some insulin is still produced and released, it’s not enough to regulate blood sugar level.

Do people with type-2 diabetes need insulin?

The answer varies, depending on how well you can control your blood sugar level and how well you can follow the treatment plan as a part of your lifetime commitment.

Sometimes insulin replacement is required. However in general, the frequency of taking insulin in people with type-2 is not as common as people with type-1.

Treatments also can vary. Some people with type-2 may require a single injection of insulin /day without taking any diabetes pills, while others may require diabetes pills and one injection in the evening – according to a report published by the American Diabetes Association.

If the disease doesn’t respond to the diabetes pills, doctors may recommend 2 injections a day with different types of insulin.

When does type-2 diabetes require insulin replacement?

Following the treatment plan as your doctor suggests would help delay your chance of requiring insulin replacement.

In general, the insulin replacement /injection is required if the blood sugar level is too high — or if the level doesn’t respond to oral diabetes medications and lifestyle changes (such as exercise and healthy diet).

The first time of getting an insulin injection could be frightening. Fortunately, the devices for insulin injection are now friendlier than before and much easier than you think.

There are several types of devices for insulin injection:

  1. Syringes! The size of these devices is dependent on the dose of insulin you need. And they are made for single-use only.
  2. Pen devices! Many patients report that they are more comfortable with pen devices than the use of syringes. These devices are available in reusable & disposable.
  3. A programmable insulin pump! It can be programmed to deliver & transfer insulin into the body through a special thin tube.

To start your insulin therapy, your healthcare provider will determine the dose and make some adjustments for your new routine & treatment plan.

Sometimes the decision of when people with type-2 diabetes need to take insulin replacement is not always easy. What’s more?


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