Skip main navigation

When replacement insulin is the only option

Outlines why manufactured insulin is used in diabetes
In people with type 2 diabetes who have insulin resistance (lack of response to insulin), a range of different lifestyle changes and medications are used to improve insulin sensitivity.

These include using insulin sensitising drugs and losing weight.

Replacement insulin

In all cases of type 1 diabetes there is no insulin produced, and in some people with type 2 diabetes there is insufficient insulin production as well as increased resistance to the effects of natural insulin. The only option for these people is to give them replacement insulin.

Replacement insulin now comes in a number of different types, with different lengths of action (we will be covering this in greater detail later on this week). This insulin takes the place of the insulin normally made by the pancreas in each person.

The action of both naturally produced and replacement insulin is the same (although with different strengths and time courses).

Did you know? Insulin was first given to someone with type 1 diabetes in 1922. Leonard Thompson was a 14-year old boy in Canada who was close to death at this point. The test was successful, and Leonard recovered, gaining strength and appetite. Research into insulin has come a long way from this initial test, with many different forms of insulin available to provide a more personalised approach to help patients reach their optimal regime.

© University of Southampton
This article is from the free online

Understanding Insulin

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now