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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What is the role of insulin in type 2 diabetes?

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  • 3


    Lisa Renn


    Lisa is an APD with 12 years experience, specialising in helping people identify and change habits that impact negatively on their health. Inspiring change, Lisa … View Profile

    Hi there, great question!
    The role of insulin is the same for Type 1, Type 2 diabetes and those people who do not have diabetes.
    Insulin is a hormone and acts as a transporter of glucose in the body. When we eat a carbohydrate containing food we get a rise in blood glucose(sugar) levels. Insulin is required to pick up this glucose and transport it to muscle and body cells to be used as energy= a happy system.
    In type 2 diabetes the insulin is present initally, often in large quantities, it's just that it cannot get the glucose to the muscles as effectively = insulin resistance. Hence, the glucose stays in the blood stream and the levels become higher than recommended = high blood glucose levels = diabetes. Insulin resistance is often managed by the medication metformin. Weight loss and exercise are also essential to managing insulin resistance.

    After a time of over producing insulin gradually production of insulin in the pancreas declines and another type of medication may be needed to encourage your pancreas to make more insulin to keep you blood glucose levels in check.

    The last part of the insulin story for people with type 2 diabetes is that the pancreas may no longer produce enough insulin to effectively get the glucose out of the blood stream and will be required to inject insulin to do the job.

    Remember the aim of the game is to keep you blood sugar/glucose levels as close to “normal” as possible- insulin is the key to this.

    Hope that helps.

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