Depending on who you are or with whom you are affiliated, a good number of people have never come across the word Insulin – lucky people. It’s one of those words you never quite come across or randomly take note of, until it suddenly matters that you do. We’ve only known of its existence for about a hundred years, and it has proven in that time to be one of the most important discoveries ever made. So, what is it and what is its function?
What is Insulin?
Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas – one of the glands of the body’s endocrine system, which controls body metabolic functions. It is solely responsible for processing the storage of glucose in the liver, fatty tissues, and muscles, ensuring glucose isn’t retained in the blood resulting in diabetes. Insulin has also been found to accelerate the body’s metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Without adequate insulin production by the pancreas, the body can’t store or absorb glucose for its energy needs, so body fat is broken down instead. This produces acidic compounds known as ketones or keto acid which is harmful and can be fatal at high levels.
Who Needs Insulin, and Why?
There are a number of health-related reasons why a person might find themselves in need of insulin. In some cases, the body’s immune system attacks and damages the cells of the pancreas leading to inadequate or a total halt in insulin production. This leads to abnormally high levels of glucose in the blood, or hyperglycemia; a condition related to type 1 diabetes. In other cases, such as type 2 diabetes, the individual develops a resistance to insulin, causing the body to use insulin improperly. This resistance forces the pancreas to work harder to produce enough insulin to process blood glucose, and could lead to permanent damage overtime, causing glucose build up in the blood-stream. These health conditions have become seriously prevalent in our society today, with millions of people living through the complications, expenses, and discomforts of the disorder. A lot of lifestyle alterations have to be made to diet and physical activities, and regular insulin doses have to be administered through injection, to assist glucose assimilation and maintain metabolic balance. GluCare Health offers consultation and guidance on ways to manage diabetes. Our specialists possess extensive expertise on effective treatment of Diabetes and its related conditions. Blood glucose levels tend to spike shortly after meals, making it a necessity to have insulin close-by at all times.
How Does an Insulin Pump Work?
For a person living with diabetes, the accelerated advancements in technology needed for insulin administration, presents a refreshing development. In the past, periodic insulin injections following a finger stick test, was the only means of insulin administration. While not completely winning the war for diabetics, technology has saved the day with the introduction of such devices as insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors (CGM). CGMs are small electronic devices equipped with a small sensor that is inserted into the skin of the arm or abdomen. At intervals, the sensor takes blood glucose readings, and transmits the data to a digital device. CGMs are mostly programmed to work in tandem with an insulin pump; a miniature digital device furnished with multiple doses of insulin. They are designed to be carried on the belt or taped to the body, and administer insulin through a tiny syringe. The glucose monitor tests the blood periodically, collecting glucose data which is then relayed to a digital device; in this case an insulin pump. Receiving the reading, the pump dispenses the appropriate dose of insulin needed by the body. When not paired with a continuous glucose monitor however, glucose level tests would have to be carried out manually using a finger stick test. However, more recent insulin pumps have CGM systems built in, and can be operated from the convenience of your smartphone. The ease of this process effectively negates the need for constant finger stick tests, and the discomfort of having to take injections multiple times daily.
As part of the innovative approach to diabetes management at GluCare.Health, our team of specialists and coaches provide care and prescriptions tailored to the needs of individual patients. Using connected wearable devices enables active monitoring to ensure prescription effectiveness and make adequate and timely changes where necessary. We offer support for a wide range of CGMs and insulin pumps including the Abbott Freestyle Libre 2 Sensor, Dexcom G6, and the Omnipod.
A Tribute to Convenience
Since their introduction, insulin pumps have been widely praised as being preferable to the uncomfortable experience that is insulin injections, which require constant self-consciousness for glucose monitoring, and considerable pain from getting repeatedly pricked by a needle daily, especially for children living with diabetes. The convenience of having a continuous glucose monitor and an insulin pump to manage affairs frees up the mind for more demanding daily tasks. Naturally, it isn’t completely a holiday. The glucose monitor needs periodic calibration, the glucose testing sensor has to be changed occasionally, while the insulin pump requires refilling, but all of that feels like a walk in the park when juxtaposed with the alternatives. At Glucare, our clinical strategy prioritizes the utilization of technology to provide the best care to our patients. We encourage the use of such CGMs as the Freestyle Libre 2 Sensor, the Dexcom G6, or the Omnipod for best results.