How is insulin made for diabetics


According to the definition, insulin is an endogenous hormone that has a blood sugar-lowering effect. It works as a kind of “door opener” that unlocks the cells and paves the way for sugar from the blood to the cells. The hormone plays a central role in diabetes.

The human pancreas produces insulin. Special cells are responsible for its production: the beta cells of the so-called Langerhans islands. This is where the name comes from, because the Latin word "insula" means "island". There are different forms of diabetes, which differ not only in terms of their causes, but also in terms of their ability to produce insulin.

Type 1 diabetes

At the Type 1 diabetes The pancreas produces little or no more insulin - there is a lack of insulin and the insulin level in the blood is too low. The deficiency can only be remedied by externally supplied insulin. It does the job that the body's own insulin hormone would otherwise do.

Are diabetic with this type lifelong dependent on insulin therapy. Type 1 diabetes usually appears at a young age. This form is one of the autoimmune diseases in which the immune system is directed against the body's own structures - in this case it is the pancreas.

Type 2 diabetes

At theType 2 diabetes The pancreas often releases small amounts of insulin. However, the insulin no longer works sufficiently because the body cells are not sufficiently sensitive to the insulin hormone - the insulin sensitivity of the cells is reduced.

Doctors also refer to this reduced or abolished effect of insulin in the tissues of the body as insulin resistance. Then the cells are less able to absorb and use the glucose from the blood. The sugar stays in the blood and the blood sugar level is too high.

People with this form of diabetes usually do not need any insulin at first. Many get by with a change in lifestyle (healthy diet, more exercise) or blood sugar-lowering medication. Only when these measures no longer sufficiently lower blood sugar levels does insulin come into play as a drug to adjust the insulin levels.

How much insulin the pancreas still produces in diabetics can be determined by the proinsulin. It is an immature precursor of the hormone insulin and is an important marker in type 2 diabetes. If the proinsulin is intact, this indicates a defect in the beta cells. Because normally the preliminary stage is broken down into two components: insulin and C-peptide.