How quickly they work
(onset of action)
(onset of action)
(time of peak action)
(duration of action)
It is important to be aware that there are different types of insulin. Depending on your needs, your doctor will recommend that you begin on one type of insulin. Your treatment may need to be adjusted over time to achieve the best possible blood sugar control.
Most people with type 2 diabetes who move on to insulin treatment
start with a long-acting insulin. These are often called basal or
'background' insulins because they keep a low, consistent level of
insulin in your blood over an extended time.
Long-acting insulins work to keep your blood sugar levels steady throughout the entire day – including between meals and when you sleep. Because of their long duration of action, they are usually taken only once or twice daily.
Diagnosed with type 2 diabetes your blood sugar rises rapidly when
you eat a meal. Sometimes, long-acting insulin isn't enough to control
these 'spikes' and you may need to add mealtime insulin to keep your
blood sugar levels under control.
Mealtime insulin is a rapid- or fast-acting insulin that you inject just before you eat to manage blood sugar spikes. It is taken in addition to a long-acting insulin and together, they are sometimes called 'basal-bolus insulin'.
You may start with just one mealtime insulin injection per day, usually with your main meal. Your doctor will advise you to add more mealtime injections if necessary.
Regardless of the type of insulin you are prescribed, moving on to insulin treatment can seem overwhelming. You may be worried about injections, or even see it as a personal failure. These are quite normal reactions. At the same time, it is important to keep in mind that type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease and switching to a treatment that gives you better control of your health is a success on its own terms.