Insulin is a hormone that is important for metabolism and utilization of energy from the ingested nutrients like carbohydrate, fat and protein. Insulin is synthesized in significant quantities only in beta cells in the pancreas. It is secreted primarily in response to elevated blood concentrations of glucose. Insulin thus can regulate blood glucose and the body senses and responds to rise in blood glucose by secreting insulin.
Other stimuli like sight and taste of food, nerve stimulation and increased blood concentrations of other fuel molecules, including amino acids and fatty acids, also promote insulin secretion. Insulin has several broad actions including:
There are two major types of diabetes – type 1 and type 2.
Type 1 diabetes, occurs when there is no or very low production of insulin from the pancreatic beta cells. Patients with Type 1 diabetes mellitus depend on external insulin (most commonly injected subcutaneously) for their survival.
In type 2 diabetes, mellitus the demands of insulin are not met by the amount produced by the pancreatic beta cells. This is termed insulin resistance or ''relative'' insulin deficiency. These patients may be treated with drugs to reduce their blood sugar or may eventually require externally supplied insulin if other medications fail to control blood glucose levels adequately.
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