Insulin is the main anabolic hormone in our body that helps in regulating the metabolism of carbs, fats, and proteins in our body. It keeps controlling the sugar level from getting high and avoiding any further glucose driven away into the bloodstream. People with Type 1 diabetes must have to take insulin when the body is not able to produce in enough quantities.
Basal insulin has a remarkable property of controlling and regulating the blood sugar levels to attain stability, especially while fasting and during sleep. This blocks the emission of glucose to the bloodstream from the liver. Basal insulin will take care of this excess amount of glucose being pushed into the bloodstream. Basal insulin makes sure that a sufficient amount of glucose is provided to the cells for energy and thus there is optimality in the usage of glucose in our body.
Basal Insulin Types
Basal insulin is mostly used for controlling Type 1 diabetes but can be used by Type 2 patients too. Basal Insulins are long-acting insulins that work in the background. Hence they are called background insulin. The main purpose of Basal insulin is to keep the blood sugar level at an optimal level without going too high or too low especially during fasting.
The body releases glucose to the blood while fasting for using it as energy. Basal insulin works when you are asleep or awake. It can be taken once or twice each day depending upon the type of insulin taken. It is slow acting but long-lasting and keeps the sugar level stable and consistent. Sometimes a combination of Basal- Bolus insulin is given to patients with Type 1 diabetes to control the blood sugar level.
Basal Insulin is a very essential solution for our body to control the production of glucose in our body. Clustering the types of Basal insulin, we can classify them into 5 based on the duration of its effect, and how many shots we need to take every day. A best blood glucose meter can notify you if your blood sugar is too high or too low so that you can intervene with glucose tablets, insulin, or other medications to prevent hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia. People with diabetes generally need to measure their blood sugar several times a day because their blood sugar fluctuates a lot during the day.
Five Types of Basal Insulin
- Rapid-acting Insulin: Rapid Acting insulin works in such a way that when you inject it into your body, its effect stays for a timeframe for around 2 to 4 hours. It is suggested to inject this type of insulin before eating food your breakfast, lunch, or dinner. You can avoid the blood sugar level surging if injected before the meal. Sometimes rapid-acting insulin is used along with long-acting insulin. Lispro, glulisine, and as part are some of the examples of Rapid-acting insulin that can help you regulate the blood sugar level.
- Short-acting Insulin: With Short-acting insulin, you can solve your insulin need during mealtime. Short-acting insulin is also known by the name of regular insulin. Unlike the rapid-acting insulin, you can inject the short-acting insulin much earlier than your meal. It is more effective and thus it works for a bit more longer than the Rapid-acting insulin. Within 30 minutes after injecting this type of insulin, it starts regulating the levels and it peaks between 2 and 4 hours. Humulin R and Novolin R are the 2 types of Short-acting Insulins that can be helpful in your day to day life.
- Intermediate-acting Insulin: Intermediate-acting insulin is not used regularly like any other insulins for regulating the insulin level but you can use it if you are recommended by a doctor to use it regularly. Humulin and Novolin are two intermediate-acting insulins and you will need to take it twice per day. Its effect stays for around 16 hours a day. So, make sure you do not doze off before taking your second shot of this insulin daily.
- Long-acting Insulin: Long-acting insulin will work for you 24 hours a day. You just don’t have to worry every time thinking about injecting the dose of your Basal Insulin for the day. Do not forget what you need to take every 3-4 hours. Just one shot is enough for a day and things will be normal with you. For 24 hours, your blood sugar level is under control. Rapid-acting or regular insulin shots can be taken along if needed but it is not mandatory. To avoid any abnormality in the level, you could either take early in the morning or at night when you are about to fall asleep. Glargine is a long-acting insulin that is available in 3 different product names. Their consistency begins after an hour of it being injected into the bloodstream. It works for 24 hours and only needs to be injected once per day. Detemir or Levemir is another example that begins acting in an n hour after it is injected. It does not last as long as Glargine Insulin but will expect to start working within 90 minutes of injecting it, to show its consistency between 7- 24 hours. 1-2 shots of detemir are required for balancing the blood sugar level in our body.
- Ultra long-acting Insulin: This insulin starts working within 30 to 90 minutes after injecting and will stay for 42 hours. Everything falls in its place and this works well that you will never have to worry about an imbalance in the level. It will never be too low and push you towards hypoglycemia. Degludec is a fine example that starts working within 30 minutes to one hour after being injected into the body. Its effect is so perfect that stays for 42 hours which means we are safe. It works at a steady rate for the whole day, Degludec comes with 100 U/ml and 200 U/ml options. So you need to take the utmost care when you buy the insulin so that you can avoid any possible hypoglycemia.
Many people tend to choose Basal Insulin as it helps them to regulate their blood sugar level between each meal and do not have to worry about anything while enjoying their lifestyle as they wish. People often choose long-acting insulins as there is no fear of peak insulin activity that would put them at low hypoglycemia. You can choose to take basal insulin in the evening or at night if the morning routine is found difficult to follow. The best blood sugar monitor will help you to manage diabetes.
We also need to take extreme care while injecting insulin into one’s body. Overdose of insulin will lead to an emergency after the sugar level reaches the bottom level causing hypoglycemia. Some of the symptoms of hypoglycemia include anxiety, shaking, lightheadedness, and uncontrolled sweating.
Whether you are opting for regular acting insulin or long-acting insulin, you need to consult a doctor first. They will evaluate what dosage you need to take and accordingly you can start your insulin shot. This will protect you from overdosage or underdosing of Basal Insulin being injected into your bloodstream.