Over the past couple of days, we’ve been discussing several diabetes related topics but what about one of the most important ones, especially when it comes to keeping us type 1 diabetics alive. No I’m not talking about okra, some exotic fruit, cinnamon, or essential oil I’m talking about insulin!
Before we go there though, for those of you who make these claims (especially about okra and cinnamon) in regards to treating or as many of you like to say “cure” type 1 diabetes, you really need to stop. Over the past year I’ve been getting bombarded with sales pitches and I’m honestly tired of it. Cinnamon is a great antioxidant and comes with some fantastic health benefits but when it comes to type 1 diabetes, don’t you think if it was that easy, it would be mainstream information and the millions of us that battle with this disease day in and day out would avoid the BS that we deal with daily?
Or perhaps the miracle lies within the specially formulated product you are trying to sell me? Its utterly ridiculous, and the fact that you know nothing about the disease itself or how it works, you need to take a step back and take your products with you.
I mean, you realize that you produce insulin naturally, its a normal human bodily function. What makes you think that okra, cinnamon, or your essential oil is going to magically wake up my dead beta cells (these are the cells that actually produce insulin, feel free to google, its a fascinating read). Perhaps your cinnamon, shake or oil defies all science and type 1 diabetes research?
Or perhaps you have magic okra that you purchased from the same person who sold Jack his beanstalk beans? Perhaps the laws of physics cease to exist in your potent concoction? Either way you need to stop before you seriously put someone in a very bad predicament.
Now I can only talk about type 1 diabetes as this is what I eat, breath and live with daily. With type 1 diabetes, the body’s immune system attacks part of its own pancreas. Scientists are not sure why, but the immune system mistakenly sees the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas as foreign, and destroys them. This attack is known as autoimmune disease.
Insulin is vital for survival because without it, simply put, life would cease to exist (including yours). So what is insulin and why is it so important for type 1 diabetics, lets take a look!
What Is Insulin?
So the most basic question, what is insulin? When you digest food, your body changes most of the food you eat into glucose (a form of sugar). Insulin allows this glucose to enter all the cells of your body and be used as energy. When you have diabetes, your body doesn’t make enough insulin (zero in the case of type 1, unless your in your honeymoon phase) or can’t use it properly, so the glucose builds up in your blood instead of moving into the cells. Too much glucose in the blood can lead to serious health problems.
All people who have type 1 and some people who have type 2 diabetes need to take insulin to help control their blood sugar levels. The goal is to keep your blood sugar level in a normal range as much as possible so you’ll stay healthy. Insulin can’t be taken by mouth. It is usually taken with injections (shots). It can also be taken with an pre filled syringe or an insulin pump.
Types Of Insulin:
Manufactured insulin comes in several types that differ in the way in which they act inside the body. Each type differs in three ways:
- Onset: The length of time after injection that the insulin begins to work
- Peak: the length of time after injection that the insulin takes to reach its maximum effectiveness
- Duration: the length of time in which it remains effective
The four basic types and their respective onset, peak and duration are as follows:
- Rapid Acting: begins to work after 15 minutes, peaks in 30 to 90 minutes, and has a duration of three to four hours.
- Short Acting: begins to work in 30 to 60 minutes, peaks in two to three hours, and has a duration of three to six hours.
- Intermediate Acting: begins to work in 90 minutes to six hours, peaks in four to 14 hours, and has a duration of up to 24 hours.
- Long Acting: begins to work in six to 14 hours and remains effective for 24 to 36 hours.
How Much Do You Need?
Your need for insulin can be affected by the following factors:
- Your weight
- How much you exercise
- Your level of fitness
- How much fat and muscle you have
- How sensitive your body is
- The types and amounts of food you eat
- Your emotions (such as your amount of stress)
- Other medicines you take
Getting the right insulin dose is a cat and mouse game, a lot like tailoring a suit. You might start with a suit right off the rack. Then, the tailor nips and tucks until it’s just right. It doesn’t matter how large or small the suit is. What matters is that it fits you. Your blood sugar reading tells you when you’ve got the right fit. It is typically not a fast process either. Upon diagnosis, it took me close to 2 years of fine tuning to get the right dosages. Even to this day, 10 years after my type 1 diagnosis, I’m constantly fine tuning my insulin requirements, so make sure your patient and don’t become frustrated or get down on yourself.
Diabetes Treatment Plans:
- Type and amount of insulin. There are several types of insulin available that vary in how quickly and how long they can control blood sugar. Frequently your doctor may recommend more than one type of insulin. To determine which types you need and how much you need, your doctor will consider several factors. These include the type that you have, your glucose levels, how much your blood sugar fluctuates throughout the day and your lifestyle.
- Delivery options. Insulin is injected underneath your skin, often several times a day. You may choose among syringes, injection pens or an insulin pump that provides a continuous infusion of insulin through a catheter underneath your skin. Personally I love my insulin pump. Its convenient, not intrusive, provides me freedom and I’m still not a huge fan of needles even though I’ve gotten over the fear of them. Choose what makes you most comfortable and what your lifestyle allows. I actually started out on injections for the first 2 years before moving over to a pump. I’ve been pumping for the past 8 years and its really helped my A1C, currently at 5.8 down from over 10 when first diagnosed.
In closing, my goal with this article is not to bash the amazing benefits of cinnamon or even okra and other amazing products that are out on the market that can truly help your overall health. I’m simply showing you why insulin is vital for all type 1 diabetics and unless science proves that cinnamon and okra can perform the same as insulin, I’m going to stick with what I’m doing and I’m pretty sure that every type 1 diabetic on the planet will back me up.
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