Everyone with type 1 diabetes needs to take insulin, so do many others with type 2 diabetes. 1 Insulin is available in many formulations and helps keep blood sugar level under control. 1,2 There are many types of insulin, some work quickly while some work a little slower. Some last for a longer time in your body, while some have a short life. 2
|PARAMETER||HOW SOON IT BEGINS TO WORK?||HOW LONG IT LASTS?|
|Rapid acting insulin||15 min||3 to 5 hrs|
|Short acting insulin||30-60 min||5 to 8 hrs|
|Intermediate acting insulin||1-3 hrs||10 to 16 hrs|
|Long acting insulin||1 hr||Up to 24 hrs or more|
|Pre-mixed insulin||5-15 min||10 to 16 hrs|
Rapid-acting insulin is also called bolus insulin. It acts very fast and so is taken before a meal to lower blood sugar after eating. It can either be injected or taken by an insulin pump. It is commonly recommended in type 1 diabetes and at times in type 2 diabetes
Short acting insulins may also be called regular insulin. Short acting insulins are not as quick to act as rapid acting insulins and therefore may be more appropriate in certain people. This type of insulin starts action usually between 30 minutes and an hour and lasts for approximately eight hours depending on dose.
It is usually used before a meal, and controls postprandial blood glucose levels.
Longer acting than the above two but shorter acting than the Long acting insulin.
Long-acting insulin is also called basal insulin and is usually active throughout the day.
It primarily reduces the fasting blood glucose level.
In premixed insulin, shorter or rapid acting insulin is combined with longer acting insulin.
Before prescribing any type of insulin, your doctor may check for your blood glucose levels, body’s metabolism of insulin, lifestyle and your personal preferences. Besides prescribing the appropriate insulin, your doctor will also explain to you how insulin works.9
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