Diabetes ABCs, Health

Diabetes ABCs: B

Beta Cells

Beta cells are the cells in the pancreas that make insulin, a hormone that helps move glucose out of the blood and into cells for energy. Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system attacks and destroys these cells.  As a result, a person with Type 1 is no longer able to produce insulin on their own and must supply it through daily insulin injections or an insulin pump.

(Content reviewed by MGH Diabetes Center)


By Eileen B. Wyner, NP
Bulfinch Medical Group

Basal is a word with many definitions but in the medical world it refers to a minimal level that is necessary for health, such as the minimum insulin dose. People without diabetes are constantly producing insulin to keep the blood sugar level constant. This is called basal insulin. People with diabetes are not producing natural insulin as efficiently, so there are blood sugar fluctuations. Basal insulin therapy is indicated so blood sugar fluctuations can be well controlled. It may be injected once or twice a day and taken in conjunction with other medications to control diabetes.


By Eileen B. Wyner, NP
Bulfinch Medical Group

A bolus refers to the administration of a medication, given to raise its concentration in the blood to an effective level. People with diabetes often use a bolus dose of rapid-acting insulin with a meal to keep the after meal time blood sugar well regulated. The key is that rapid acting insulin acts quickly, so it’s important to take this insulin within 15 minutes of the meal in question. There are instances where a bolus of insulin may be used to control high blood sugars in the event of an illness or infection – this would be closely monitored by your health care provider. There are many cases where a combination of basal and bolus insulin are used together for better blood sugar control.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s