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How Does Insulin Control Blood Sugar Levels In The Body?

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What Is Insulin?

Insulin is a hormone; a chemical messenger produced in one part of the body to have an action on another. It is a protein responsible for regulating blood glucose levels as part of metabolism.1 The body manufactures insulin in the pancreas, and the hormone is secreted by its beta cells, primarily in response to glucose.1 The beta cells of the pancreas are perfectly designed "fuel sensors" stimulated by glucose.2 As glucose levels rise in the plasma of the blood, uptake and metabolism by the pancreas beta cells are enhanced, leading to insulin secretion.1 Insulin has two modes of action on the body - an excitatory one and an inhibitory one:3 Insulin stimulates glucose uptake and lipid synthesis It inhibits the breakdown of lipids, proteins and glycogen, and inhibits the glucose pathway (gluconeogenesis) and production of ketone bodies (ketogenesis). What is the pancreas? The pancreas is the organ responsible for controlling sugar levels. It is part of the digestive system and located in the abdomen, behind the stomach and next to the duodenum - the first part of the small intestine.4 The pancreas has two main functional components:4,5 Exocrine cells - cells that release digestive en Continue reading >>

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  1. Ahmed-USMLE

    What does insulin do to potassium and what does potassium do to insulin secretion is a concept that is frequently tested in USMLE Step 1.
    Let's summarize here and I'd be happy if you enrich this thread with your valuable posts.
    Insulin causes Potassium to shift into the cells thereby decreasing the extracellular K level. That's why insulin is used in the treatment of hyperkalemia.
    Level of Potassium in the serum also affects insulin secretion from the pancreas. Because the beta cells have an ATP dependent K channel which is when closed leads to retained K inside the beta cell which favors depolarization thereby enhancing Calcium mediated release of secretory granules. Therefore, in hyperkalemia more K will enter the beta cell and insulin secretion will increase and conversely in hypokalemia the K ions are more likely to leave the beta cell and so insulin secretion will decrease.

  2. syedaanaqvi

    thanks..it will help many

  3. DrSeddik

    Thanx for the useful post. I was aware of insulin effect on K but not the reverse.
    In DKA (insulin deficiency) K is shifted extracellularly but is also lost in urine, so the patient's intracellular K is much depleted than the serum test.
    I also find it very useful for the USMLE and real life to know other causes of K intracellular shift (not necessarily loss), these include:
    1- B2 effect: That's why you should check K level after you give multiple doses of bronchodilator to patient in severe asthmatic attack. It's also used in rapid adjunctive treatment of hyperkalemia. B blockers cause hyperkalemia.
    2-Alkalosis: so most of the time you see alkalosis you see hypokalemia in association, exceptions include loss of intestinal fluid (diarrhea, villous adenoma) and RTA types 1 and 2. Alkalosis also increases K excretion. Acidosis cause extracellular K shift.
    3-A very rare disorder that is really not worth mentioning is hypokalemic periodic paralysis.

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The Role Of Insulin In The Body

Tweet Insulin is a hormone which plays a key role in the regulation of blood glucose levels. A lack of insulin, or an inability to adequately respond to insulin, can each lead to the development of the symptoms of diabetes. In addition to its role in controlling blood sugar levels, insulin is also involved in the storage of fat. Insulin is a hormone which plays a number of roles in the body’s metabolism. Insulin regulates how the body uses and stores glucose and fat. Many of the body’s cells rely on insulin to take glucose from the blood for energy. Insulin and blood glucose levels Insulin helps control blood glucose levels by signaling the liver and muscle and fat cells to take in glucose from the blood. Insulin therefore helps cells to take in glucose to be used for energy. If the body has sufficient energy, insulin signals the liver to take up glucose and store it as glycogen. The liver can store up to around 5% of its mass as glycogen. Some cells in the body can take glucose from the blood without insulin, but most cells do require insulin to be present. Insulin and type 1 diabetes In type 1 diabetes, the body produces insufficient insulin to regulate blood glucose levels. Continue reading >>

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  1. ugeniac

    I was told that too this summer by a new Endo but went back alter to my usual one and after a C PEPTIDE test it was determined that my pancreas was still making a small amount of insulin.
    Because I now have CKD, stage 3, I am almost entirely dependent upon Insulin,both short acting before meals and Long acting before bedtime. before breakfast I am taking a moderate dosage of Januvia, 50 mg.

  2. Type1Lou

    The C-peptide is a blood test done to determine if the pancreas is producing any insulin at all. If it finds that the pancreas doesn't produce insulin, you are classified as a Type 1 and must use insulin (shots or pump) to manage your diabetes. If the test reveals that you are still producing insulin, you would most likely be categorized as a Type 2 and may have other treatment options (oral meds, diet, exercise or insulin) available to you to manage your diabetes. My pancreas stopped producing insulin when I was 27 because an auto-immune response destroyed the islet cells in the pancreas which is where insulin is produced. It is currently unknown what triggers that auto-immune response.

  3. ugeniac

    CKD is Chronic Kidney Disease and is usually determined by the blood level of Creatinine. The renal Function tests may include urine testing too, to look for protein (usually albumin). My egfr, the Estimated Glucose Filtration Rate, went down since summer of 2010, from 66 to 34 this spring and summer. below 30 means stage 4! Stage 5 is dialysis or transplant or …
    My endocrinologists assumed that my pancreas was not producing Insulin anymore so the C Peptide test was done (just a blood sample needed). It is similar to measuring Insulin Levels,which I had not had done for at least FIVE years!
    In type 2 diabetes, Insulin is either absent or ineffective due to high resistance.

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The Role Of Insulin In The Body

Tweet Insulin is a hormone which plays a key role in the regulation of blood glucose levels. A lack of insulin, or an inability to adequately respond to insulin, can each lead to the development of the symptoms of diabetes. In addition to its role in controlling blood sugar levels, insulin is also involved in the storage of fat. Insulin is a hormone which plays a number of roles in the body’s metabolism. Insulin regulates how the body uses and stores glucose and fat. Many of the body’s cells rely on insulin to take glucose from the blood for energy. Insulin and blood glucose levels Insulin helps control blood glucose levels by signaling the liver and muscle and fat cells to take in glucose from the blood. Insulin therefore helps cells to take in glucose to be used for energy. If the body has sufficient energy, insulin signals the liver to take up glucose and store it as glycogen. The liver can store up to around 5% of its mass as glycogen. Some cells in the body can take glucose from the blood without insulin, but most cells do require insulin to be present. Insulin and type 1 diabetes In type 1 diabetes, the body produces insufficient insulin to regulate blood glucose levels. Continue reading >>

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  1. Pharmacy Kid

    Clear before Cloudy

    What's the reason for drawing regular before NPH?

  2. BeLikeBueller

    I don't know, but when I utilized the most reliable of all search methods (google ), I came across a diabetes help forum where someone had the username "Cinnabon."
    If I had to guess though (after a little bit of digging), I would say it is because if you introduce the protamine component from the NPH into the regular insulin vial, you have effectively transformed a small portion of your fast-acting insulin to intermediate acting insulin (since it's an association of insulin with the protamine that causes the increased duration - if I recall insulin pharmacology correctly)? Whereas if you introduce regular insulin into a solution of NPH, regular insulin associating w/ protamine would have really no effect (it's already an intermediate acting insulin after all).
    Hopefully someone w/ a greater knowledge base in pharmacology will respond. I just had to share about "Cinnabon" and felt like it was important to add something meaningful to the discussion as well.

  3. zelman

    Nph is also cloudy, and cloudiness in regular insulin would mean it should be discarded.

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