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Diabetes: What Type Of Insulin Is Right For Me?

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Rapid onset-fast acting insulin

Rapid onset-fast acting insulin always looks clear. It is fast acting and starts to work within one to 20 minutes. It peaks about one hour later and lasts from three to five hours. When you use this type of insulin, you must eat immediately after you inject.

The two rapid onset-fast acting insulin types currently available are:

  1. NovoRapid (Insulin Aspart)
  2. Humalog (Lispro).

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Short acting insulin

Short acting insulins always look clear. They begin to lower blood glucose levels within half an hour, so you need to have your injection half an hour before eating.

Short acting insulin has a peak effect at two to four hours, and lasts for between six and eight hours. Short acting insulin types currently available include:

  1. Actrapid
  2. Humulin
  3. Hypurin Neutral (bovine - highly purified beef insulin).

Intermediate acting insulin

Intermediate acting insulins always look cloudy. They have either protamine or zinc added to delay their action. These insulins begin to work about 90 minutes after you inject, peak at four to 12 hours, and last for 16 to 24 hours.

Intermediate acting insulins currently available include:

  1. With protamine added – Protaphane, Humulin NPH and Hypurin Isophane (bovine).

Preventing Diabetes

You'll need to keep an eye on your blood sugar levels and take treatment for your diabetes for the rest of your life. If you don't have good control of your blood sugar you'll be at risk from damage to the blood vessels and nerves, with problems such as deterioration in eyesight, stroke, kidney disease and infections.

As your doctor has already explained, careful diet and pills are all that are needed in most cases. If you're overweight, simply eating less and losing weight can be enough to allow the insulin to work more effectively.

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Why Use Insulin Pumps?

The number of people using insulin pump therapy to manage their diabetes is growing rapidly; roughly 250,000 people around the world use an insulin pump. Their reasons for choosing the pump are many, but generally "pumpers" all agree that it gives them tighter control and more flexibility -- both in terms of their schedule and lifestyle. This control and flexibility includes advantages such as:

  1. Eating what you want, when you want
  2. Worrying less about low blood sugars ("hypoglycemia")
  3. Living life on your terms, not a schedule of snacks and shots

There are many scientific studies that demonstrate that insulin pump therapy results in better outcomes for teens and adults with type 1 diabetes. There are also studies that show that insulin pump therapy works well in toddlers and pre-school children.