Balanced blood sugars

Blood sugar, or glucose, is used by your body for energy. When you eat, it’s created by many of the carbohydrates you’re consuming. Glucose is either used right away or stored in your cells. Insulin helps keep the glucose in your blood within a normal range.

It does this by taking glucose out of your bloodstream and moving it into cells throughout your body. The cells then use the glucose for energy and store the excess in your liver, muscles, and fat tissue.

Too much or too little glucose in your blood can cause serious health problems. Besides diabetes, it can lead to heart, kidney, eye, and blood vessel problems.

Healthy cells

Cells in every part of your body need energy to function and remain healthy. Insulin provides the glucose that cells use for energy.

Without insulin, the glucose remains in your bloodstream, which can lead to dangerous complications like hyperglycemia.

Along with glucose, insulin helps amino acids enter the body’s cells, which builds muscle mass. Insulin also helps cells take in electrolytes like potassium, which keeps your bodily fluids level.

In the bloodstream

When insulin enters your bloodstream, it helps cells throughout your body — including in your central nervous system and cardiovascular system — to absorb glucose. It’s the circulatory system’s job to deliver insulin.

As long as the pancreas produces enough insulin and your body can use it properly, blood sugar levels will be kept within a healthy range.

A buildup of glucose in the blood (hyperglycemia) can cause complications like nerve damage (neuropathy), kidney damage, and eye problems. Symptoms of high blood glucose include excessive thirst and frequent urination.

Too little glucose in the blood (hypoglycemia) can make you feel irritable, tired, or confused. Low blood sugar can lead to loss of consciousness.

Ketone control

Insulin helps your cells use glucose for energy. When cells can’t use the extra glucose, they begin to burn fat for energy. This process creates a dangerous buildup of chemicals called ketones.

Your body tries to get rid of the ketones through your urine, but sometimes it can’t keep up. This can lead to a life threatening condition called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). Symptoms include sweet-smelling breath, dry mouth, nausea, and vomiting.