Diabetes ABCs

Diabetes ABCs: I

Insulin
By Eileen B. Wyner
Bulfinch Medical Group

Letter I

Insulin is a hormone produced by the beta cells of the pancreas. Insulin helps glucose move from the bloodstream into the cells of the liver, skeletal muscles, and fat tissue where it is stored for action as an energy source. People with diabetes have sustained a disruption in the workings of the beta cells so they are not producing insulin as well as they used to, meaning their blood sugar values are variable. They may be able to manage this with diet, exercise, or oral medications. There are times when insulin injections will be needed. Insulin cannot be taken as a pill as it would be broken down during digestion just like the protein in food, so it must be injected into the fat under your skin for it to get into your blood system.

Insulin Resistance

By Eileen B. Wyner
Bulfinch Medical Group

Insulin resistance occurs when some of the body’s cells don’t respond efficiently to the insulin it produces. The causes aren’t completely clear but family history, decreased physical activity, and weight gain are clearly factors. Insulin is the key that opens up the cells so glucose can enter and provide the energy they require to stay healthy and do their job.  Insulin resistance is a risk factor for heart disease and Type 2 Diabetes.

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