Insulin Regimens are Individualized
The goal of insulin therapy is to imitate the function of a healthy human pancreas, which provides a moderate amount of insulin to the cells all day long and extra insulin at mealtimes.
Insulin therapy is accomplished by combining different types of insulin:
- Rapid-acting insulin (lispro and Regular) is used to control the blood sugar peak that occurs at mealtimes ("bolus insulin").
- Intermediate-acting insulin (NPH) is used to provide some insulin effect all day long or to control blood sugar through the night (known as "basal insulin").
- Long-acting insulin has a slow onset and virtually no peak. It lasts for up to 36 hours, and can be used as a basal insulin.
People with type 1 diabetes depend entirely on doses of insulin to get their basal and bolus insulins, while people with type 2 diabetes produce some of their own and don't have to use injections to get everything that they need.
The insulin regimen that your doctor creates for you will be based on several factors in order to match your needs and lifestyle:
- The type of diabetes you have and amount of insulin your body is producing.
- Your age.
- Your weight.
- Your blood sugar targets.
- Your eating patterns.
- Your activity level.
- How closely you monitor your glucose levels.
- How well you take care of yourself.
- What you are willing and able to do to reach your target blood glucose levels.
- Whether you're able to recognize and prevent the symptoms of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).
When you begin insulin therapy, it's common for your doctor to change the dosage sizes or other aspects of your regimen until he finds the plan that works best for you. Once your blood sugars are often in their target range, and you have achieved your A1c goal, you can expect less frequent changes in regimen in order to keep good diabetes control.
Any alterations to your regimen will be decided by you and your doctor, based on several factors:
- How well your regimen is doing at keeping your blood sugars in the target range.
- Changes in your weight.
- Changes in your activity level.
- Changes in your lifestyle (such as a different shift in your job) that force you to adjust your eating habits.
- A desire to be more active in your diabetes control.
- A desire for more flexibility in the management of your diabetes.