Insulin may be used to treat diabetes by controlling blood (sugar) glucose levels. It is a hormone normally made by the pancreas, which is an organ in your upper belly. Your body uses insulin to help move glucose from the blood into the cells, where it is used for energy.
Children with diabetes have problems with the way insulin is used in their bodies. Because of these problems, glucose cannot get into the cells. Instead, it stays in the blood. Too much glucose in the blood can damage the blood vessels and organs.
Your child needs the right kind of insulin at the right times during the day. The amount and kind of insulin is very important. If your child takes too much insulin or takes it at the wrong time, your child could have a serious or life-threatening low blood glucose reaction. If your child doesn't take enough insulin, or forgets a dose, his body will not be able to use food for energy, glucose from digested food will stay in the blood, and the blood glucose will be too high.
Your child’s body needs insulin to move glucose from the blood into the cells, where it is burned for energy. The body cannot turn glucose into energy without insulin. If insulin is not available, glucose from digested food builds up in the blood. Insulin controls high blood glucose but does not cure diabetes.
The main types of insulin are:
Your child's healthcare provider may prescribe a combination of different types of insulin to treat your child’s diabetes and to match your child's eating schedule and lifestyle.
Have your child continue to use insulin even if he feels well. Your child should not stop using insulin without talking to your child’s health care provider. Your child should not switch to another brand or type of insulin or change the dose of any type of insulin your child uses without talking to your child’s health care provider.
Insulin comes in vials, prefilled disposable dosing devices, and cartridges. The cartridges are designed to be placed in dosing pens. Be sure you know what type of container your child’s insulin comes in and what other supplies, such as needles, syringes, or pens, you child will need to take the medication. Make sure that the name and letter on your child’s insulin are exactly what your child’s healthcare provider prescribed.