Human Insulin Types: What You Should Know
What is insulin?
Insulin is a hormone produced by the beta cells located in a gland known as the pancreas. Insulin is responsible for helping glucose enter the body cells, so it can be converted to energy. Glucose is a form of sugar and is one of the main sources of fuel. When we eat, glucose is absorbed into the bloodstream. When the level of blood sugar rises, the body signals the pancreas to release the hormone insulin. Insulin will then attach itself to the insulin receptors outside the body cells. This will allow the body cells to open the doorway for glucose to enter the cell for fuel. Diabetic patients cannot produce enough insulin or they become resistant to it. Hence, diabetic patients have high blood glucose levels in the blood. If left untreated, high blood glucose levels can lead to long-term health problems, such as blindness, nerve damage, or kidney problems. People with type 2 diabetes can control their blood sugar levels through regular exercise, a proper diet, and taking diabetes medications. However, people with type 1 diabetes require insulin therapy so that they can survive. This is because their pancreas cannot produce insulin as a result of their immune system. Insulin therapy can either come in form of human, analogue, or animal insulin.
What is human insulin?
Human insulin refers to the synthetic form of the natural insulin that is produced in our bodies. Human insulin is made in the laboratory to mimic the work of the natural insulin, which is to regulate blood sugar levels. Man made insulin is normally prescribed to people with diabetes, because they cannot make enough insulin or they become resistant to it. Man made insulin can be administered subcutaneously or intravenously. You should not inject man made insulin if you do not know how to use it. When you inject man made insulin, it helps glucose enter the muscle cells for energy. This helps to lower high blood sugar in the bloodstream.
Human insulin types
Man made types can either be short acting insulin or long acting insulin.
Short acting insulin is normally injected before meals to reduce high blood glucose in diabetic patients. Your doctor will show you the best place to inject this type of insulin. Usually, short acting insulin is injected into the fat tissue of the abdomen, upper arm or buttocks. You should not inject the same injection spot twice in a row. Instead, rotate the injection site to reduce the risk of having lipodystrophy. Short acting insulin can also be referred to as neutral insulin or regular insulin. When injected under the skin, short acting insulin starts to work within 30 minutes and keeps working for up to 6 hours to lower blood glucose levels. However, it is important to note that short acting insulin does not work as fast as rapid acting insulin in controlling blood sugar levels. Hence, it may be appropriate for certain types of patients. Short acting insulin can either be human or animal insulin that is injected under the skin using an injection pen or syringe.
The following are example of short acting man made insulin:
Humulin S is soluble insulin that contains human insulin as the active substance. Humulin S is short acting human insulin that helps to control blood glucose levels in diabetic patients. This human insulin type is supposed to be taken 15 to 30 minutes before you eat. When injected under the skin, Humulin S helps people with diabetes attain a normal blood sugar levels. Humulin S contains an active human insulin substance that binds to the insulin receptors on the body cells. This causes the body cells to increase their intake of sugar from the blood. As a result, Humulin S helps to lower blood glucose in the blood. Humulin S also works by reducing the amount of glucose the liver makes. Humulin S is supposed to be administered subcutaneously. Your health-care provider will show you the best place to inject this medication. This medication is usually injected into the fat tissue of the upper arm, abdomen or thighs. Humulin S is best absorbed when it is injected in the abdomen. Humulin S can also be administered intramuscularly or intravenously with the help of a doctor. It is recommended you check your blood sugar levels regularly as you take this medication.
Actrapid is a solution of human insulin that is available in prefilled pens, vials or cartridges. Actrapid is a prescription drug that is taken by diabetic patients to treat high levels of blood sugar. Diabetic patients can take Actrapid which acts by replacing the work of the natural insulin produced in the body. When this human insulin type is injected subcutaneously using an injection pen, it helps glucose enter the body cells. This reduces blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Controlling the blood sugar level is important because it reduces the risk of long-term health complications. This medication can also be administered intravenously by a doctor. Actrapid is a short acting insulin that can be administered together with long acting or intermediate acting insulin. It is recommended you take this medication within 30 minutes before you take a meal. As you take this medication, it is recommended you check your blood sugar levels regularly. This will help determine the most effective dose for controlling your blood sugar levels.
Insuman Rapid is a human insulin that is administered to people with diabetes mellitus. That means, patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes who require insulin therapy can use Insuman Rapid. Insuman Rapid can also be used to treat other conditions, such as diabetic ketoacidosis or hyperglycemic coma. Insuman Rapid is available in prefilled pens, cartridges or vials. It is normally injected subcutaneously into the fat tissue of the abdomen, upper arm or buttocks. Insuman Rapid is supposed to be administered before a meal. When injected under the skin, Insuman Rapid works quickly to reduce high blood glucose in diabetic patients. This human insulin type can also be administered intravenously by a doctor or nurse.
Intermediate acting insulin works slowly compared to fast acting insulin. When injected under the skin, this type of insulin works within one hour to reduce blood sugar levels and peaks after 8 hours. Intermediate acting insulin can be used by diabetic patients to cover their insulin needs overnight or half a day. Intermediate acting insulins, also known as NPH insulin, are normally taken together with short acting insulin.
The following are example of intermediate acting man made insulin:
Humulin I is a human insulin type that works for longer periods compared to short acting insulin such as Humulin S. The prolonged action is aided by protamine sulfate that is added in the solution. Humulin I is normally taken in combination with short acting acting insulin. Your doctor will show you how to take this medication at home. Humulin I should not be injected into the vein. You should take this medication as your doctor prescribed it. If you take too much Humulin I, you may experience low blood sugar levels or hypoglycemia. Check your blood sugar regularly as you take this medication. You should not take Humulin I if you are allergic to any of its ingredients.
Insuman Basal works the same way other insulin medications do. Insuman Basal comes in prefilled pens, cartridges or vials. When injected under the skin, Insuman Basal works slowly to reduce blood sugar levels and the effects can last up to 20 hours. It is recommended you take this human insulin type 45 to 60 minutes before you take a meal.
Disclaimer: Please note that the contents of this community article are strictly for informational purposes and should not be considered as medical advice. This article, and other community articles, are not written or reviewed for medical validity by Canadian Insulin or its staff. All views and opinions expressed by the contributing authors are not endorsed by Canadian Insulin. Always consult a medical professional for medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment.