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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 insulin). Together, they can help manage your blood sugar (glucose) all day, every day.

Because you can't make insulin or don't make enough for your body's needs when you have diabetes, you may 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 to help you manage diabetes every day:

  • Basal insulins: Basal insulins include intermediate-acting and longer-acting insulins. These start lowering blood sugar more slowly and last longer than faster-acting insulins. A doctor may recommend taking basal insulin once or twice a day
  • Faster-acting insulins: Faster-acting insulins include rapid-acting and short-acting insulins. Rapid-acting insulin starts working very quickly and for the shortest time. Short-acting insulin starts working more slowly and longer than rapid-acting insulin
  • Premixed insulins: Premixed insulins contain a mix of both basal and faster-acting insulins in one solution. They can help people with type 2 diabetes manage their blood sugar at meals, between meals, and even at night, depending on their treatment plan
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