In a normal body, insulin is produced in adequate amounts that are required to break down blood glucose levels. If here is little or no insulin produced by the body, it leads to diabetes.
In Type 1 diabetes, insulin is either not produced by the body at all or is produced at a low level. In Type 2 diabetes, the body develops an insulin resistance where the cells carrying glucose in the blood do not react to the insulin.
The role played by insulin
The digestion process results in the conversion of food into glucose which travels through the blood stream, to be converted into energy by insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas. In a diabetic body, the pancreas no longer produces the necessary amount of insulin to process the blood glucose into energy. This causes the accumulation of glucose in the bloodstream, causing the symptoms of the disease.
Due to the reduction in the production of insulin in the body, external insulin doses are given to supplement the body’s internal production. Insulin cannot be taken in a pill or tonic as it loses its structure in the digestive system and becomes useless. It must be administered by injecting it into the skin between two and four times a day depending on the needs of the body. It can also be administered by insulin pumps, inhalers, and a few other methods, though injection is the most widely used method at present.
Insulin is available in variants that are active for differing time periods, from being active for about an hour to being active for close to a day. Diabetics who are in advanced stages of the disease get used to the external intake of insulin. So it must be continued for the lifetime of the person, till they undergo a pancreas transplant, or until a cure is found.