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Insulin use in the treatment of hyperglycaemia

Diabetes is a disease characterised by high blood glucose also known as hyperglycaemia.

As you’ve already discovered, this is due to a problem with insulin production or action and if left untreated, can result in persistent uncontrolled high blood glucose (hyperglycaemia).

Over a period of hours to days, uncontrolled hyperglycaemia can result in an increased osmotic diuresis (urination).

Four cartoon figures, each with one of the symptoms hyperglycaemia, Thirst, fatigue, nausea, blurred vision. Figure: symptoms of hyperglycaemia

Symptoms of hyperglycaemia can include:

  • Thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Drowsiness

Over a period of months to years, uncontrolled hyperglycaemia can contribute to the premature occlusion of key blood vessels. This can result in a reduced blood supply to key organs in the body, which may then become damaged and function less efficiently.

The key organs that need a good blood supply are: the brain, the eyes, the heart, the kidneys and the feet.

Silhouette of a person with key organs highlighted Figure: human body with key organs highlighted

Using insulin can therefore be very effective in promoting glucose uptake and result in good blood glucose control. This can reduce the risk of short and longer term problems as a result of hyperglycaemia.

So let’s find out more about why and how the administration of insulin is helping Carlos and Seema to manage hyperglycaemia.

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This article is from the free online course:

Understanding Insulin

University of Southampton