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This information was reviewed and approved by Dthia Kalkwarf (1/1/2014).

Diabetes treatment revolves around a combination of lifestyle management and insulin.

Diabetes is usually first found in children, teenagers, or young adults. If you have diabetes, you must take insulin because your body no longer makes it. You also might need to take other types of diabetes medicines that work with insulin.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, which occurs when the body builds up resistance to insulin. If the body can't keep up with the need for insulin, you may need diabetes medicines. Many choices are available. Your doctor might prescribe two or more medicines. 

Gestational diabetes is diabetes that occurs for the first time during pregnancy. The hormones of pregnancy or a shortage of insulin can cause gestational diabetes. Most women with gestational diabetes control it with meal planning and physical activity, but some women need insulin to reach their target blood glucose levels.


Methods of Administering Insulin

When you have diabetes, your body has trouble using insulin to move glucose into body cells for energy.  Insulin is vital for the body to survive, so some people with diabetes need to get the insulin through other means.

  • Taking injections. You'll give yourself shots using a needle and syringe. The syringe is a hollow tube with a plunger. You will put your dose of insulin into the tube. Some people use an insulin pen, which looks like a pen but has a needle for its point.
  • Using an insulin pump. An insulin pump is a small machine about the size of a cell phone, worn outside of your body on a belt or in a pocket or pouch. The pump connects to a small plastic tube and a very small needle. The needle is inserted under the skin and stays in for several days. Insulin is pumped from the machine through the tube into your body.
  • Using an insulin jet injector. The jet injector, which looks like a large pen, sends a fine spray of insulin through the skin with high-pressure air instead of a needle.

Possible side effects of insulin may include low blood glucose and weight gain.

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