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Insulin

A hormone that helps the body use glucose for energy. The beta cells of the pancreas make insulin. When the body cannot make enough insulin, insulin is taken by injection or other means.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases)

Diagram of the pancreas and insulin production Click to enlarge

Insulin production and glucose National Institutes of Health

About Types of Insulin

Insulin therapy is essential for everyone who has type 1 diabetes and some people who have type 2 diabetes. Various types of insulin are available. They differ in terms of how long their effect lasts, as well as their chemical structure.

Some types of insulin work quickly (short-acting insulin or rapid-acting insulin), while others only start to work after a certain amount of time, and then work over a longer time period (long-acting or basal insulin).

Insulin can be extracted from the pancreas cells of pigs (porcine insulin) or cattle (bovine insulin) and prepared for use in humans. But nowadays most people use genetically engineered insulin for the treatment of diabetes. One type of synthetic insulin is called "human insulin." Human insulin mimics the insulin made in the human body. There are also other types of synthetic insulin called "insulin analogues." Their chemical structure is different to that of other kinds of insulin... Read more about the Insulin

Terms to know

Beta Cells
A cell that makes insulin. Beta cells are located in the islets of the pancreas.
Blood Vessels
Tubes that carry blood to and from all parts of the body. The three main types of blood vessels are arteries, capillaries, and veins.
Glucose (Dextrose)
A simple sugar the body manufactures from carbohydrates in the diet. Glucose is the body's main source of energy.
Hormones
A messenger molecule that helps coordinate the actions of various tissues; made in one part of the body and transported, via the bloodstream, to tissues and organs elsewhere in the body.
Islet Cells (Islets of Langerhans)
Groups of cells located in the pancreas that make hormones that help the body break down and use food. For example, alpha cells make glucagon and beta cells make insulin. Also called islets of Langerhans.
Muscles
Muscles function to produce force and motion. They are primarily responsible for maintaining and changing posture, locomotion, as well as movement of internal organs, such as the contraction of the heart and the movement of food through the digestive system.
Pancreas
An organ that makes insulin and enzymes for digestion. The pancreas is located behind the lower part of the stomach and is about the size of a hand.

Terms to know

Beta Cells
A cell that makes insulin. Beta cells are located in the islets of the pancreas....
Blood Vessels
Tubes that carry blood to and from all parts of the body. The three main types of blood vessels are arteries...
Glucose (Dextrose)
A simple sugar the body manufactures from carbohydrates in the diet. Glucose is the body's main source of ene...
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