Types of Insulin
The body naturally makes different amounts of insulin at different times. Smaller, steady amounts are produced between meals and overnight (sometimes called "basal" or "background" insulin). Larger amounts are produced when you eat (sometimes called "bolus" or "mealtime" insulin). Together, they manage your blood sugar (glucose) all day.
Because you can't make insulin or don't make enough for your body's needs when you have diabetes, you probably will need to use more than one type of manufactured insulin to get the same effect. These different types of insulin work at different rates and for different amounts of time. Here are more details about the different types of insulin available:
- Basal insulins: Basal insulins include intermediate-acting and longer-acting insulins. These start more slowly and last longer than mealtime insulins. Your doctor usually recommends you take basal insulin once or twice a day.
- Mealtime insulins: Mealtime insulins include rapid-acting and short-acting insulins. Rapid-acting insulin starts very quickly and works for the shortest time. Short-acting insulin starts more slowly and works longer than rapid-acting insulin.
- Mixture insulins: Mixture insulins contain a mix of both basal and mealtime insulins in one solution. They can help manage your blood sugar at meals, between meals, and even at night, depending on your treatment plan.