About the Different Types of Insulin

About the Different Types of Insulin

There are over 15 million Americans diagnosed with type-2 diabetes and possibly millions more who are not yet diagnosed. And for those who have been diagnosed, for some their pancreas can still produce the hormone known as insulin but due to aging or even obesity, the less insulin is produced. So, type-2 diabetics will need to rely on injections of manufactured insulin to control their blood sugar (or blood glucose level) or taking diabetic related pills. But in order to achieve control over one’s blood sugar, it is important to know the various types of insulin available.

Insulin is categorized by how fast it works, when it reaches its peak and takes action and for how long the hormone will stay in the body.

Rapid-Acting Insulin

Rapid-acting insulin goes by the name of Lispro or Humalog. It is the fastest working insulin available and once it is injected into the body, it works within 15 minutes. It hits its peak at around an hour after injection and lasts about 4-5 hours in the body. There is also Novolog or Aspart and Apidra and Glulisine with different onset times.

Rapid-acting Insulin is a “clear” type of insulin that is designed to be taken before meals and works by the time the person begins eating. This is essential to the body because the meal is digested and glucose is moved into the bloodstream.

Short-acting Insulin

Short-acting insulin is often called “regular” insulin and also taken at around mealtime. It takes longer to work and is typically taken around 30-minutes to an hour before a meal. It peaks around 3-5 hours but lasts about 6 hours in the body. It is also a “clear” type of insulin that goes by the names of Regular humulin or novolin. Also, there is Velosulin.

a needle for injecting insulin
A needle for injecting insulin into the body

Intermediate-Acting Insulin

Intermediate-acting insulin goes by the name of NPH or Lente is insulin that is mixed with a substance to allow for slow absorption in the body. Unlike the rapid-acting or short-acting insulin which are clear, intermediate is cloudy when mixed. It also takes longer to work but stays in the body for a longer amount of time. NPH works about anywhere between 2-4 hours after injection. Peaks about 10 hours after injection and stays in the body between 10-16 hours. Lente peaks anywhere between 4-12 hours but stays in the body for 18 hours. So, if taken in the morning, it will work all day.

And for children, a shot of this type of insulin in the evening will keep insulin production for a child during the night.

Long-acting insulin

This type of insulin is known as Utralente and works anywhere between 30-minutes to 3 hours after injection and can stay in the body up to 20 hours or more. These are taken before bed or in the morning. Also, available is Lantus, Levemir or Detemir.

There is another very long-acting insulin known as Glargine and it lowers blood sugar level after one hour of injection but has been known to work effectively for 24 hours.

Which Type of Insulin Should I Use?

Of course, the type of insulin you need is what your physician will recommend. There will probably be tests to see how fast insulin is absorbed into the body but also judging by your lifestyle from how much you eat or drink, especially if you drink alcohol and also if you are on a diet plan. Also, age is a consideration.

Other factors depend if you are willing to take multiple injections per day and your ability to check on your blood sugar.

Protein, carbohydrates, fats and calories

The most common diabetes is type 2 diabetes and happens when the body does not produce enough insulin or cells ignore insulin. For the body, insulin plays a major role in using glucose and converting it to energy. When you eat food, the body breaks down all the sugars and starches and converts it into glucose. The glucose is then used as the fuel for cells throughout the body through insulin.

And for those who have type 2 diabetes, they are in danger of suffering from complications such as

  1. heart disease,

  2. stroke,
  3. kidney disease,
  4. eye complications and
  5. nerve damage.

So, the first step is to get treatment from your physician and the next step is dieting and weight loss through exercise. For most people with diabetes, a healthy diet consists of 40% to 60% of calories coming from foods that supply carbohydrates, 20% from protein and 30% or less from fat.

It’s typically recommended that a diet consists of 4-6 small meals during the day instead of three full meals. The reason is that your blood sugar can be normalized.


For your diet, carbohydrates can be found in foods such as fruits, beans, dairy foods and starchy foods. A good diet to practice when it comes to carbs is to focus on whole wheat breads, pasta and brown rice. Also, consuming dry beans or fresh fruits (canned fruits if packed in water).


For protein, you can find these in meat, poultry, fish and dairy products. If eating meats, it’s all about practicing moderation in consumption, practicing eating smaller portions and to not fry these in oil or fat. Eating poultry and fish is recommended over red meat. Also, if you do eat poultry, remove all fat off of it. As for dairy products, focusing on low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese.

There are low-fat alternatives to fats and oils. You can find low-fat margarine and butter, including mayonnaise. It’s important to avoid fried foods and high fat dairy products.

Other practices in the diet are to count carbohydrates and calories. Many going through a diet try to focus on eating foods that tabulate up to 2800 calories and then lower it when they feel they can and adjust their lifestyle to it. So, in a daily regiment, when eating or purchasing foods, look at the labels, so you can keep track of the carbs and calories you are taking in.

Counting calories, counting carbohydrates

As for counting carbohydrates, this is good for meal planning. One carbohydrate serving is equal to 15 grams of carbohydrates. You plan your carbohydrate intake based on what your pre-meal sugar is and you take an insulin dose that can be adjusted to what you eat.

If you eat more carbs than your insulin supply, your blood sugar levels go up. You eat to little, your blood sugar levels may fall too low. So, carbohydrate calculation is important.

With any diet, working with your physician and dietitian is important. Not only can they help you plan out your meal plan but help you and be a positive support in your goal for weight loss. Also, your physician can monitor your blood sugar levels, insulin levels and weight loss throughout your diet.

Diabetes type 1

3 major types of diabetes exists. Type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes. Type 2 is the most common form of diabetes, gestational diabetes is the second most often form and type 1 is the least common.

What is the difference between these 3 types?

In theory, all these types are the same – you are unable to control your blood sugar, or your blood sugar control is impaired.

Diabetes type 1

For millions of families, it’s not uncommon to know someone who suffers from diabetes, which is a syndrome when the body either produces high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia), your body doesn’t produce enough insulin (type 1 diabetes) or your body doesn’t respond to insulin (type 2 and gestational diabetes) which can lead to hyperglycemia.

diabetes type 1

But over 15,000 children are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes each year. It is not known what causes type 1 diabetes but many children are diagnosed with juvenile diabetes (and some adults as well). Here are several type 1 diabetes to keep an eye out for and if you feel you exhibit one of these signs, it is important to contact your physician to determine if you do have diabetes or not.
Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes

Weight Loss

For some diabetics, especially those with type 1 diabetes, some people unusually lose a lot of weight because the pancreas is not producing any insulin. Since insulin creates energy for your body, your body tries to look for an energy source and thus it breaks down fan.
Increase In Urination

A major symptom of diabetics is the fact that they visit the bathroom more often. If you feel that you urinate quite often throughout the day, this is a possible sign of diabetes. The body feels the urge to urinate when there is too much glucose in the blood. Insulin which converts blood sugar to energy may be ineffective and your kidneys are unable to filter the glucose back into your blood. This makes your body react by attempting to exert any extra water in the blood to dilute glucose.

Increase in Thirst and Hunger

If you feel thirsty constantly, this is another symptom of diabetes. Drinking a lot of liquids, leads to more urination. The more you urinate, the more your body will want to replace the water, thus making you feel thirsty.

The same can be said about hunger. Your body is craving for more food as your body wants to convert the insulin to energy.

Feeling Tired All the Time

When your body doesn’t produce insulin (which converts glucose to energy), your body’s glucose does not become cells and your body reacts to being tired since it’s lacking energy thus making you feel weak or tired.

Your Hands, Legs or Feet are Feeling Numb

When there is too much glucose in the blood and it slowly starts to damage your nervous system and cause nerve damage, this can lead to neuropathy and a symptom is numbness from the hands, legs or feet.

Body Taking Longer to Heal Cuts and Wounds

Another sign of diabetes is you notice that your body is not healing as quickly as it should. This is a sign that your body may have a high blood sugar level and there is little to no insulin to convert the blood sugar to glucose (energy).
Other Symptoms

Other symptoms of type 1 diabetes include:

  1. irritability,
  2. itching
  3. blurry vision

Of course, if you are having one of these symptoms, it does not mean you have diabetes but if you have a family with a long history of diabetes or you notice that you have one or more of the signs of having diabetes, it’s very important to meet with your physician immediately.

Symptoms of type 1 juvenile diabetes includes extreme hunger, extreme thirst, frequent urination, drowsiness or being lethargic, changes in vision, sores that heal slowly, having dry or itchy skin, losing feeling in the feet or having tingling I the feet, rapid weight loss and a sweet or wine-like odor in the breath and difficulties breathing.

If you feel that you have these symptoms, it is important to visit a physician and have a blood test to show if you have diabetes. If you do, you will need to take insulin for the rest of your live.

Complication of type 1 diabetes

Complications from type 1 diabetes include heart disease (due to poor circulation), kidney disease (diabetes can damage the kidneys and prevent kidneys to filter waste in the body), eye complications (and even blindness), gum disease (due to bacteria in the mouth), neuropathy and nerve damage, foot complications (which can be due to nerve damage in the feet), skin complications, gastroparesis and depression.
Dealing with Type 1 Diabetes

Many children have learned to deal with their diabetes. Because it is life threatening, it is important for children to receive the education early to deal with diabetes and learn to manage it.

It requires constant attention and multiple injections, multiple blood tests and knowing that insulin does not cure juvenile diabetes. Insulin is what helps them stay alive.

But it doesn’t mean that you can’t live a productive life. Many people with type 1 diabetes have learned to try and managed it to the best of their ability.

But it all starts with being diagnosed and if you have symptoms of type 1 diabetes, it is very important to get checked by your physician immediately and get treatment and also know that insulin must be taken not just for that day but for the rest of your life.

Blood sugar levels chart

Blood sugar levels chart for diabetics

If you are measuring your blood sugar often than you will need a blood sugar levels chart. Blood sugar levels chart is very handy when you need to evaluate your results, immediately after the measurements. To obtain an accurate blood sugar levels chart you must consult with your personal doctor. Every country uses slightly different values and what might be considered normal in Canada will not be considered in Germany (this is just an example).

How to use a blood sugar levels chart?

The use is simple. You need to take your measurement and write the number on a piece of paper. After that you pick this same number and evaluate it versus a blood sugar levels chart. If the numbers are above a certain amount this might represent a high blood sugar level. If your number is below a certain threshold, your might be experiencing low blood sugar levels. In any case if you are unsure of what the numbers should be please talk to your personal doctor.

blood sugar levels chart

blood sugar levels chart

On above image you can see which levels are considered normal, low and high for most of the people. Here’s a story of a patient who utilized a blood sugar levels chart properly.

Due to my feet being exceptionally sore, I decided I should check my blood sugars. After all, dinner this evening had been pizza and I was about due the other half of my insulin…and this was the result:

A Blood Glucose level of 20.0mmol/L (360 mg/dL) was what greeted me. No wonder my feet had decided to kick up a stink. No wonder I had been snarky and irritable most of the evening. Thankfully my Optium Xceed told me ketones were at 0.0. I’ve just done a correction of 6 units and will keep an eye. Bear in mind, I only took 8u before eating dinner and I was about due the other 8; but advice was to just correct the 20.0 and check every half an hour to an hour, and keep chugging the water. Bets on when ketones will show up? I was happy to had a blood sugar levels chart on me so I could asses the numbers.

Even if your alone, make sure you have blood sugar levels chart on you

Diabetes can be a very lonely disease at times, especially when it seems as if you’re the only one out there with it. You can go out and never see another human being checking their blood sugars or giving their injection. And more so, you can go out and have to do these things yourself and then receive funny looks in return. This is why I am so grateful for the diabetes online community. It was just last year when I found myself looking for something online to help me come out of my rebellion. Now I always have blood sugar levels chart on me so there can be no more surprise blood sugar spikes on me. I have it in my pocket and use it when needed.

I sometimes lend it to my colleges or friend who needs it too. I also suggest you take your blood sugar levels chart with you so you will avoid trouble before it becomes real.

Reviewed: 2015/09/30

Dreaming of a cure for diabetes

Is there a cure for diabetes?

The sad answer, for now, is NO – there is no current cure for diabetes. Since beta cells get destroyed (diabetes type 2) there is no way for a human body to regrow these cells. These cells produce insulin which regulates blood sugar levels.

With diabetes type 1 body develops resistance to insulin which ultimately results in body’s inability to control blood sugar levels. Uncontrolled blood sugar levels can lead to severe damage or death.


Diabetes coaching

Diabetes coaching is coaching a person with diabetes. When illness is diagnosed many people lose their minds and don’t know how to accept the new reality – in such case diabetes coaching is a good option for them. A lot of people is diagnosed every day and many need guidance. Diabetes couching is the smart decision.

Are you looking on this web page to help someone about whom you care? Perhaps yourself? Are you wondering what questions to ask your doctor? Are you trying to understand what the doctor told you? Are you trying to figure out how concerned you really should be about those lab results? The following paragraphs will tell you only part of what you need to know. The numbers only tell part of the story. The rest of the story is one that you or your friend need to understand in order to control your health and your life.

Diabetes is a complicated, complex disorder that you will be in charge of most of the time. Your doctor or other health care provider will be involved in about 2 – 5% of your diabetes care. The rest of it is up to YOU!

Think about it. Would you put yourself in the hands of a doctor who was going to be in charge of your health 95 – 98% of the time knowing that that doctor had only a beginning knowledge (at best) of your disorder? No? You or your friend will be in charge of his/her own diabetes care 95-98% of the time. Knowing as much as possible about diabetes care is the very best way to ensure optimum self-care. A Certified Diabetes Educator is prepared to teach you/your friend what s/he needs to know to be in complete control of his/her own health and to stay well…and functioning for a long, healthy life. Your Diabetes Coach is a Certified Diabetes Educator with 10+ years of experience. Let the Coach help you or your friend — today! *

Translating your a1c readings to a blood sugar

How to translate your a1c readings to a blood sugar?

a1c reading represents an average blood sugar levels in a patients over a period of time. Translated readings are as follows (values in brackets stand for mg/dl):

  • 12% = 298 (240 – 347)
  • 11% = 269 (217 – 314)
  • 10% = 240 (193 – 282)
  • 9% = 212 (170 –249)
  • 8% = 183 (147 – 217)
  • 7% = 154 (123 – 185)
  • 6% = 126 ( 100 – 152)

If you are unsure what your levels are or what your levels should be please consult a blood sugar levels chart. By using a blood sugar levels chart you will be able to see quickly whether you need insulin or something sugary to boost your sugar levels. In any case a blood sugar levels chart is very useful and should be in any diabetics pocket.