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Insulin

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Updated January 12, 2009

Definition:

Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas to help keep blood sugar levels in a normal range. When you have type 1 diabetes, the beta cells in the pancreas that produce the insulin have stopped secreting sufficient amounts of insulin to process the glucose (sugar) you get from the food your eat. When there is not enough insulin for your body to properly absorb the sugar in the blood, it accumulates and can cause a number of short and long-term complications.

Before type 1 diabetes is accurately diagnosed, blood sugar levels may rise to dangerous levels with accompanying symptoms. If left untreated, blood sugar levels could result in diabetic ketoacidosis, possibly leading to a coma or even death.

Because your body no longer produces insulin in adequate amounts, you must obtain daily insulin from injections or an insulin pump.

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