Indications for Insulin Use

In type-1 diabetes (T1D), insulin production by beta cells is completely or almost completely lost. Therefore, T1D patients must receive exogenous insulin to sustain life. Persons with type 2 diabetes (T2D) may need insulin if other forms of therapy don’t adequately control blood glucose levels – or during periods of physiologic stress, such as surgery or infection.

Children and adolescents with T1D or T2D diabetes are at risk for physical or psychosocial deficits and may need insulin therapy to promote normal development. Pregnant women with gestational diabetes may need insulin if nutrition therapy and exercise alone do not adequately control blood glucose levels. Non-diabetic patients who receive parenteral nutrition (TPN) or high-glucose nutritional supplements may also need exogenous insulin to maintain normal glucose levels.

Insulin is also used to treat potentially life-threatening complications of diabetes, such as diabetic ketoacidosis and hyperosmolar hyperglycemic non-ketotic syndrome. Patients with secondary diabetes due to pancreatitis or other diseases that severely impair beta cell production of insulin may also need exogenous insulin.

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Under some circumstances, insulin is used to treat individuals who donít have diabetes.