November is American Diabetes Awareness Month. Diabetes is a disease that affects the body’s ability to use glucose. Glucose is a simple sugar that gives your body energy. When you eat food, glucose is absorbed into your bloodstream. Too much glucose in your blood can be dangerous. Insulin is a naturalhormone that helps you keep a healthy amount of glucose in your body.

Here are five things you should know about insulin:

  1. Insulin is a medicine used to treat diabetes. Insulin is a hormone that helps the body use glucose for energy. Insulin is made in your body by your pancreas. For some people with diabetes, their body cannot make the amount of insulin it needs, so they require insulin injections. Since insulin is made by the body naturally, it is very safe.  Insulin is not a medicine that can be taken by mouth. Instead, insulin can be injected with a syringe, taken using an insulin pump, or injected with insulin pens with disposable needles.

  2. There are different types of insulin. Everybody is different. That’s why there are different types of insulin:

  • Rapid-acting insulin: Starts working within a few minutes after injection and last for a couple of hours.

  • Regular- or short-acting insulin: Takes about 30 minutes to fully work and lasts for three to six hours.

  • Intermediate-acting insulin: Takes two to four hours to fully work and can last for up to 18 hours.

  • Long-acting insulin: Takes six to 10 hours to reach peak levels in the bloodstream and can last an entire day.

If you have diabetes, ask your doctor which type of insulin is best for you.

  1. Insulin is injected into fatty parts of the body, like stomach, outer thighs, back of the arm or buttocks.You can inject insulin in your stomach, arms, thighs, or buttocks. Ask your doctor or diabetes educator which injection site is best for you. Insulin is injected into fatty parts of the body, like stomach, outer thighs, back of the arm or buttocks.

  2. Most types of insulin are stored in a refrigerator. However, insulin should be at room temperature when you inject it. Ask your doctor to tell you how to store your insulin and how to tell if it has gone bad.

  3. If you have questions about using insulin, ask your doctor. Talking to your doctor can help you feel better while taking insulin. Your doctor may ask about your side effects, your blood sugar levels, problems you may be having with insulin, and more.

To learn more about diabetes management, call Sinai Diabetes H.E.L.P. at (773) 257-6111.