Insulin is necessary for normal carbohydrate, protein, and fat metabolism. People with type 1 diabetes mellitus do not produce enough of this hormone to sustain life and therefore depend on exogenous insulin for survival. In contrast, individuals with type 2 diabetes are not dependent on exogenous insulin for survival. However, over time, many of these individuals will show decreased insulin production, therefore requiring supplemental insulin for adequate blood glucose control, especially during times of stress or illness.
An insulin regimen is often required in the treatment of gestational diabetes and diabetes associated with certain conditions or syndromes (e.g., pancreatic diseases, drug- or chemical-induced diabetes, endocrinopathies, insulin-receptor disorders, certain genetic syndromes). In all instances of insulin use, the insulin dosage must be individualized and balanced with medical nutrition therapy and exercise.
This position statement addresses issues regarding the use of conventional insulin administration (i.e., via syringe or pen with needle and cartridge) in the self-care of the individual with diabetes. It does not address the use of insulin pumps. (See the American Diabetes Association’s position statement “Continuous Subcutaneous Insulin Infusion” for further discussion on this subject.)