Skip main navigation

New offer! Get 30% off one whole year of Unlimited learning. Subscribe for just £249.99 £174.99. New subscribers only. T&Cs apply

Find out more

Insulin use in the treatment of hyperglycaemia

using insulin in healthcare: (1) To treat diabetes mellitus and (2) To treat hyperkalaemia
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.

© 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