Insulin has been quite the buzzword in the recent past, what with the rise of diabetes among the masses. To understand diabetes and its associated complications, it is essential first to understand what insulin is and how it works in the human body. Read on!
What is insulin?
Simply put, insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar. How? It signals the body cells to absorb glucose so it can be used as energy.
Diabetes or consistent high blood sugar occurs when insulin fails to make glucose enter the cells thereby increasing the level of sugar in the bloodstream.
How is insulin produced?
The pancreas, an organ behind the stomach, is responsible for producing insulin. Depending on the existing blood sugar levels at any point in time (e.g., high after eating), the pancreas will generate enough insulin that goes into the bloodstream. This process ensures sugar is always balanced in the blood appropriately.
Why is insulin crucial?
The right amount of insulin helps keep blood sugar levels in check. If the insulin levels are low, blood sugar may increase (hyperglycemia) and vice versa (hypoglycemia). These sugar imbalances can lead to severe health problems like diabetes. Hence suitable insulin production and utilisation is critical for good health.
What happens when insulin production is affected?
If the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin, or if the body becomes resistant to insulin, blood sugar may increase or decrease to dangerous levels, affecting various organs and body parts. It then becomes essential to take the right treatment, such as insulin shots or oral medications, to help the body process glucose and prevent complications.