For people living with type 2 diabetes, it is important to learn how the body uses insulin and how it affects their health condition, which provides them with a detailed view of their own health status. Poor dietary habits and lack of physical activity alter the physiological situation leading to obesity and uncontrolled diabetes. Hence it is very essential for all diabetic patients to understand the role of insulin in the body, how insulin works, types and delivery devices that are used to control blood sugar levels and avert the risk of complications.


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Read this article to get a better overview of insulin and its remarkable role in controlling diabetes.

 Insulin Role

Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that helps the body use sugar and store sugar from food for use as energy. In type 2 diabetic patients the body doesn’t respond to insulin effectively. The pancreas is unable to compensate for this and hence there’s a decreased insulin production. This results in blood sugar levels spiking up very high and over time can cause damage to nerves, blood vessels, kidneys, eyes, and other tissues.

Also Read: Insulin: Structure, Functions, Blood Test, Adverse Effects

Insulin Therapy

Controlling blood sugar levels is a key tool for staying healthy and lowering the risk of long-term complications. To help regulate blood sugar spikes, the healthcare provider may suggest the following:

  • Lifestyle modifications
  • Oral medications
  • Non-insulin injectable medications
  • Insulin therapy
  • Weight loss surgery

Insulin therapy is the best possible treatment option that can help most people with type 2 diabetes control blood sugar surges and lower the risk of complications.

Also Read: Insulin Resistance: Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis And Prevention

Types Of Insulin

There are different types of insulin that are typically categorized into two types:

  • Fast/short-acting insulin is given for mealtime exposure
  • Slow/long-acting insulin is recommended for controlling blood sugar spikes between meals and overnight

Several types and brands of insulin are available in both these categories. Premixed ones are also available that include both types of insulin. An insulin recommendation would be tailored to the person’s needs.

Inhaler Type of Insulin

An inhaler type of insulin is available in only one brand, which is rapid-acting insulin and not suitable for everyone with type 2 diabetes.

If your healthcare provider suggests that a rapid-acting insulin inhaler may work well for you, then ask him about the potential benefits and side effects of using an inhalable medicine. Also, while using this type of insulin, lung function should be monitored.

 Injectable Insulin

All other types of insulin are given by injection except one type of inhalable insulin. Also, insulin cannot be taken in the form of a pill, as the digestive enzymes would not break it down before it could be used in the system.

Remember insulin should be injected into the fatty region just beneath the skin like the abdomen, thighs, buttocks, or arms.

Insulin Delivery Devices

Different types of delivery devices are available to inject insulin, you can choose from the following devices :

Syringe: It is an empty tube attached to a needle that is used to draw a dose of insulin from the bottle or vial and injected it into the body.

Insulin Pen: It is an injectable device that contains a premeasured volume of insulin or a cartridge filled with insulin and individual dose can be taken as recommended.

Insulin Pump: It is an automated device, which delivers small and continuous doses of insulin into the body, via a catheter placed under the skin. You can discuss with your healthcare provider about the pros and cons of different insulin delivery methods.

Impact Of Lifestyle /Weight On Insulin

It is crucial for all people suffering from diabetes to follow healthy dietary habits and good lifestyles that can possibly delay or avert the need for insulin therapy. Modifying lifestyle habits and having a balanced and wholesome diet may immensely help type 2 diabetics lessen the amount of insulin required. It is important to:

  • Lose weight if overweight or obese
  • Change the dietary habits
  • Get regular exercise

Insulin Regimen

It may take some time for a diabetic patient to get accustomed to insulin therapy when prescribed first. Also, it would certainly take a little trial and error to learn about the types and dosages of insulin that work best. Blood sugar tests can help the patient and doctor to know how the body responds to the current insulin regimen and if needed your healthcare provider will make alterations to the prescribed treatment plan.

Side Effects Of Insulin

In a few cases, a person may develop side effects from insulin, which include:

  • Low blood sugar or hypoglycaemia
  • Weight gain
  • Pain at the injection site
  • Infection at the injection site
  • An allergic reaction at the injection site, which is very rare

 Hypoglycaemia is one of the most potential side effects of taking insulin. Talk to your doctor about ways to manage low blood sugar episodes. Moreover, if you experience any other side effects from taking insulin, inform your doctor about it.


Type 2 diabetic patients based on their health condition and lifestyle, may or may not need insulin as part of their treatment protocol. If your healthcare provider recommends insulin, then talk to them about the merits and risks of insulin therapy and any other concerns you have.