Showing posts with label Insulin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Insulin. Show all posts

Monday, March 27, 2017

How INSULIN Affects Us?

The glycemic index helps us to understand which foods are best and worst for controlling our blood glucose levels.

English: idealized curves of human blood gluco...
Idealized curves of human blood glucose and insulin concentrations during the course of a day containing three meals; in addition, effect of sugar-rich meal is highlighted;
(Photo credit: 
Wikipedia)
As we have seen, when blood glucose levels get too high, insulin is released into the bloodstream by the pancreas to help disperse the glucose. The insulin transports the glucose to cells needing extra energy. The cells have "insulin receptors" positioned so that insulin can bind to them, facilitating glucose entry and utilization in the cells. Once inside the cells, the glucose is burned to produce heat and adenosine triphosyphate, (ATP) a molecule that stores and releases energy as required by the cell.

When cells become less sensitive to the effects of insulin, they accept less glucose, so more glucose than usual remains in the bloodstream. Result? The pancreas over-compensates by working harder and releasing even more insulin.

The combination of insulin-insensitivity and insulin over-production typically leads to one of two results:

Either, the pancreas gets worn out and insulin production slows down to abnormally low levels. Result? We develop type 2 diabetes. (About 30 percent of cases)

Or, the insulin-resistant patient doesn't develop diabetes (because the pancreas continues to produce sufficient insulin) but, instead, contracts hyperinsulinism (abnormally high levels of insulin in the blood), which can cause chronic obesity as well as high blood pressure, high levels of triglycerides, low HDL (good) cholesterol, heart disease, and possibly some cancers.

Low GI Foods Cause Lower Insulin Levels

This is why experts are beginning to recognize the health advantages of following a low GI diet. Because lower GI foods are converted into glucose much more slowly, causing less insulin to be produced.



This is not the last word on this subject, by any means. Research into insulin insensitivity and the relationship between insulin levels and obesity is ongoing. However, the overconsumption of high-GI foods (and high-fat fast-food) is a major cause of concern.

The new carbohydrate-classification system known as the Glycemic Index rates the carbohydrate quality in foods according to its immediate effect on blood glucose level. Thus carbs that break down quickly into glucose during digestion, causing a rapid rise in glucose levels, have a High GI value. Those carbs that break down more slowly, are given an Intermediate or Low GI value.




Friday, November 25, 2016

Insulin Pumps - Get Better DIABETES Control, Get Your Life Back!

In recent years an alternative to manual insulin injections has emerged. Enter the Insulin Pump. The first Insulin Pumps were quite bulky, but modern ones are about the size of a small Cellphone or Pager. The pump is worn unobtrusively on a belt or in a pocket and it delivers insulin through a thin plastic tube (or Infusion Set) that is inserted under the skin.

Animas Vibe - insulin pump and CGM system
Photo by aldenchadwick

WHY AN INSULIN PUMP IS BETTER
In a healthy person, the pancreas produces insulin constantly at low levels, keeping blood glucose levels stable. When a meal is eaten, the pancreas will send larger amounts of insulin into the blood stream to handle the food. Using a standard injection regime, slow and fast acting insulin is used to try and mimic the pancreas. An insulin pump much more closely copies the pancreas. The pump delivers a low level of background insulin (called basal) and at meal times can deliver a "bolus" dose at the touch of a button, to cover the food.

Just like a real pancreas, if you are ill, or exercising, the basal insulin rate can be reduced. If you skip a meal, the bolus is not delivered. In this way, the pump fits into your lifestyle, rather than planning your life around your injection schedule!

CHOOSING AN INSULIN PUMP
Most insulin pumps on the market today have all the basic features. Choosing one is much like chosing a Cellphone, it is a mixture of personal taste and what you plan on using it for. If you are a water sports fan, waterproof ones area available!

If you love analysing data to improve your control, you can get one with PC download capability and analysis software. If you are new to the world of Insulin Pumps, here are some key points to think about:




  • Choose a pump that allows you to set up different basal levels. For instance at night time, if you are sick or exercising. This is an important feature to help you live a full life.

  • Pumps that use a standard "Luer Lock" infusion sets are better. This means cheaper consumables.

  • Alerts to remind you to check your blood glucose level make life easier.

  • Check what batteries it takes, standard AA or AAAs are cheaper and easier to buy.

  • More advanced pumps include a carbohydrate calculator to help you figure out what your meal Bolus dose should be.

  • Coming to the market are integrated Insulin Pump/Glucose meters. The meters readings are automatically transferred to the pump which can use them to recommend an insulin dose.
  • Other features to look for include, being waterproof, having a carbohydrate food database and alerts to warn you if you have missed a meal, or the infusion set needs changing. In short, Insulin pump manufacturers are making their products ever easier to use and automating more and more features. Life is getting better for diabetics!


     
      FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


      Q What if I don't get on with the pump, can I switch back to injections?

      A Yes. It is not a one way ticket, but most people do notice an improvement in their blood glucose control and find their lives improved.

      Q I have a really hectic lifestyle, is a pump for me?
      A Yes. Infact people who are extremely busy often see the biggest improvement. If you struggle to remember to test and inject at the right time - perhaps meal times vary from day to day, then a pump could really help you.

      Q I am considering a pump but may get pregnant, is that ok?
    A Yes. As pumps usually improve your blood glucose control, using a pump through pregancy and beyond is generally a good thing. Having as close to normal blood glucose levels reduces the chances of complications during pregnancy.

      Q What are the costs?
      A The initial outlay is in the order of a few thousand dollars, but prices are coming down all the time. Infusion sets need changing regularly too. The latest prices can be found from various diabetes suppliers on the web.