Diabetes Self-Management Articles

People with Type 1 diabetes depend on insulin to control their blood glucose, and some people with Type 2 diabetes need to take insulin as well. The articles in this section can teach you all about insulin’s role in the body, the different types of insulin on the market, and how to work with your doctor to find the insulin program that meets your needs.


Amylin by Gary Scheiner, MS, CDE

Batman has Robin. The Lone Ranger has Tonto. And insulin has its own tough little partner: a hormone called amylin.

What’s that? You thought insulin worked alone, like Superman or Spiderman? Think again. Those guys only had madmen and criminals to fight. Insulin has the onerous task of keeping blood glucose in check while fending off challenges from food, stress, illness, and a slew of other hormones…


Choosing and Using an Insulin Pump Infusion Set by Donna Rice, MBA, BSN, RN, CDE, and Kay Sweeney, PhD, RD, CDE

When a person uses an insulin pump to control his diabetes, one of the decisions he has to make is what model of infusion set to use. Pumps are often an excellent choice for people who use insulin and seek tight control of their diabetes but need some…


Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Injecting Insulin… by Wil Dubois, BS, AAS, CPT, TPT

Just take your shot. What could be easier, right? Well, you’d be surprised how many errors are made by “veteran” insulin users. This article takes a look at the nitty-gritty details behind successful insulin delivery, why they matter, and how to avoid common pitfalls…


Exenatide and Pramlintide by Stacy Griffin, Pharm.D., and John Borders, M.D.

“A dream becomes a goal when action is taken toward its achievement.”

—Bo Bennett

In 2005, two new diabetes medicines—exenatide (brand name Byetta) and pramlintide (Symlin)—became available. Both…


Exercising With an Insulin Pump by Sheri Colberg, PhD

Whether you consider yourself an athlete or an occasional recreational sports participant, you benefit from any activity that you do, because all exercise can improve your body’s ability to use insulin. If you do not inject or infuse insulin to treat…

Also inside: Sample Basal Profiles

Getting Down to Basals by Gary Scheiner, MS, CDE

To borrow a phrase from the late, great Rodney Dangerfield, “Basal insulin gets no respect.” Very few people know how to spell it correctly (basil? bazal? I mean, really!), and even fewer know what the heck it’s for. That’s a…

Also inside: Basal Insulin Action, Typical Basal Requirements, Insulin Pump Basal Rate Testing Schedule, Overnight Blood Glucose Patterns

Go Ahead, Pick Your Pump by Gary Scheiner, MS, CDE

My plan is to go through life with two things at my side: My wife (‘til death do us part…) and my insulin pump, at least until there’s a cure for diabetes.

Choosing my wife was easy—she was the only woman who was willing…

Also inside: Online Pump Reviews, Pump Manufacturers

Increasing Insulin Sensitivity by Sheri R. Colberg, PhD

Insulin is a hormone that is normally released by the beta cells of the pancreas. When a person’s pancreas cannot produce enough insulin to sustain good health, insulin can be injected into the body with a needle or infused with a pump.

One of…

Also inside: Exercise Plan for Optimal Insulin Action, Insulin Sensitizers in Brief

Insulin Delivery Devices by Stacy Griffin, PharmD, and Laura Hieronymus, MSEd, RN, BC-ADM, CDE

Insulin is a necessary part of the treatment plan for all people with Type 1 diabetes and many with Type 2. Insulin helps get glucose from the bloodstream into the muscle and fat cells to be used for fuel. It cannot be taken as a pill or a swallowed…

Also inside: Insulin Delivery Device Companion

Insulin Pump Therapy for Kids by Jo Ann Ahern, APRN, MSN, CDE

There’s no doubt that interest in insulin pumps is up among people with diabetes. In fact, the most commonly asked question of the staff at the Yale Children’s Diabetes Program in New Haven, Connecticut, is, “Am I a candidate for the pump?” or “Is my child a candidate for the pump?” In many cases, the answer is yes…

Also inside: More On Pumps

Insulin Pumps by Jan Chait

An estimated 200,000 people in the United States use insulin pumps today, and about 10,000 of those are believed to have Type 2 diabetes. Surprised? Type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease that causes many people who have it to eventually need to use…

Also inside: For More Information

Insulin Therapy for Type 2 Diabetes by Virginia Peragallo-Dittko, RN, BC-ADM, MA, CDE

Editor’s Note: Some of the information in this article may be out of date. For a newer article on the same subject, please see “Type 2 Diabetes and Insulin: Getting Started.”

Al just couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “Insulin for…


Needle Anxiety by Joseph Gustaitis

There can’t be many people who actually like giving themselves injections, but to what extent people might dislike it can vary a lot…


Pump Training by Jan Chait

Ask any insulin pump trainer if he has ever seen a pump user with inadequate training and the first response is usually a sigh. “I always think of this sign I saw once that said, ‘We fix $8 haircuts,’” says Ginger Such, RD, CDE…

Also inside: Reading Up on Pumps

Rapid-Acting Insulin by Hope Warshaw, MMSc, RD, BC-ADM, CDE

Even when you think you’re doing everything right with your diabetes care regimen, it can sometimes seem like your blood glucose levels are hard to control. One potential source of difficulty that you may not have thought of is how you time your…

Also inside: Insulin Resources, Normal Insulin Release for Food

Selecting an Insulin Program for Type 1 Diabetes by Gary Scheiner, MS, CDE

For people with Type 1 diabetes, is there really anything more personal and significant in your life than your insulin program? In a way, your insulin program defines your lifestyle. It can either dictate your meal, sleep, and activity schedules, or it…

Also inside: Insulin Regimen Comparison

To Pump, or Not to Pump? by Deborah Butler, MSW, LICSW

Your 10-year-old daughter just returned from diabetes camp. She said that everyone was using an insulin pump, and she wants one too. You are worried about having a tiny computer deliver insulin into her body. Should you ask your daughter’s…

Also inside: Before You Get a Pump, For Further Reading

Type 2 Diabetes and Insulin by Christin Snyder, MD, and Irl B. Hirsch, MD

When most people find out they have Type 2 diabetes, they are first instructed to make changes in their diet and lifestyle. But lifestyle changes and oral drugs for Type 2 diabetes are unlikely to be permanent solutions…

Also inside: Adjusting Bedtime Insulin, Insulin Action Times, Correction Doses

Type 2 Diabetes Drugs by Joshua J. Neumiller, PharmD, CDE, CGP, FASCP, and Sally To, PharmD

In recent years, the number of medicines approved to treat Type 2 diabetes has grown at an amazing rate. To help you get a handle on this, this article briefly reviews all drugs currently approved in the United States for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes…


U-500 Insulin

A form of insulin that is five times as concentrated as standard U-100 insulin…


Understanding Insulin by Laura Hieronymus, MSEd, APRN, BC-ADM, CDE, and Patti Geil, MS, RD, CDE

In any discussion of diabetes, the word insulin is almost certain to come up. That’s because a lack of insulin or trouble responding to insulin (a condition called insulin resistance) or both is what is responsible for the high blood glucose…

Also inside: Treating Hypoglycemia, Types of Insulin, Insulin Injection Sites

Statements and opinions expressed on this Web site are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the publishers or advertisers. The information provided on this Web site should not be construed as medical instruction. Consult appropriate health-care professionals before taking action based on this information.

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