UNDERSTANDING INSULIN USE WITH DIABETES
IS IT NECESSARY OR NOT?
BY CAROL DUFF R.N with information from the AMERICAN DIABETIC ASSOCIATION
With Type 2 diabetes insulin is no always necessary unless your HbA1C level (the blood test to see how well your blood sugar is staying within normal limits over the past three months) is creeping up despite your best efforts to maintain normal blood sugar levels. Your health care provider may chose to place you on insulin to help you keep your blood glucose at a healthy level.
If you must take insulin, that does not mean that you have failed to do the best to manage your diabetes. Eventually your pancreas (where the insulin is produced) may not be able to keep up with the amount of insulin that your body needs. Insulins that are prescribed today are very similar to the insulin that your body makes. Diabetes is a problem of not making enough insulin or your body not adequately using your naturally produced insulin. Diabetes is an insulin problem not a sugar problem Proper insulin intake is the best way to lower blood glucose levels.
Perhaps you have heard that people in the past have had complications from insulin. The fact is that if insulin had been started earlier the various complications may have been avoided. Some may gain weight when he or she starts to take insulin, but this is because his or her body is able to manage food more efficiently. You can receive a referral for a dietician who can help you set up a healthy diet to minimize weight gain.
Most people do not like shots and the thought of taking insulin brings anxiety of pain from these injections. The needles are very thin and most people find it less painful to take an insulin injection than to do the finger stick used to monitor blood glucose.
Some worry that insulin will cause hypoglycemia (too low blood sugar.) Newer insulins are long acting and the chance of hypoglycemia is greatly reduced. You can learn how to recognize, prevent, and to treat hypoglycemia and will be able to avoid serious insulin reactions. People with Type 2 diabetes rarely faint from low levels of blood sugar.
You cannot become addicted to insulin because it is simply a substance that your body naturally needs.
Insulin is expensive but is usually cheaper than using several different types of oral medications. You can shop around for the best price for your insulin and insulin supplies.
Taking insulin does not need to alter your life in any way. With some planning you can do everything that you did before taking insulin. This is where the diabetes educator is important. Ask your health care provider for a referral for teaching so you will be empowered to know how to live your life with diabetes and insulin. When you have regulated your blood sugar levels you will have more energy and feel more positive about your life.
Address all concerns to your health care provider and be sure that you get all the answers you need in order to live your life in the most satisfactory way. You can be independent, travel, and enjoy life even while taking insulin and will probably feel better in the bargain.