Images are for illustrative purposes only. MAT-SG-2200266-1.0 (09/22).
Are you finding it difficult to manage your blood sugar levels? Do you find it challenging to manage your diet and weight? Are you bothered by the opinions of the people around you about your diabetes? Are you able to focus on work or school?
These are some of the pressing questions that may be affecting the day-to-day life of people with diabetes, but they don’t have to be.1
Overcoming your fear of starting insulin therapy
Many people refuse to start insulin therapy because of what they have heard about it, which are largely unfounded. Let us debunk some misconceptions of insulin!
Insulin means I am a failure.2 Starting insulin does not mean you are not doing enough to manage your diabetes. Diabetes is a progressive condition, which means your pancreas may eventually no longer be able to keep up with your body’s need for insulin – even with adjustments to your antidiabetic medications, diet, and exercise. When this happens, there is insufficient insulin to maintain normal blood sugar levels. Starting insulin therapy is, therefore, the next logical step in your diabetes management to better control your blood sugar levels.3
Insulin causes weight gain.2 It is true that insulin may cause weight gain when you start therapy, this is also true with other antidiabetic medications.4 This is because when you start treatment, your body becomes more efficient in using the carbohydrates that you consume.4 Regardless of what diabetes treatment you are on, treatment-associated weight gain can be managed with dietary changes and exercise.4,5 For instance, eating a balanced diet and monitoring your total calorie intake can help you maintain a healthy weight.
Insulin makes my type 2 diabetes worse. Insulin helps to better manage your blood sugar levels and reduces the risk of hyperglycemia complications.3 Your insulin therapy will be tailored to your needs and condition – from your glycemic target to the insulin regimen.6 Hence, it is important to use the correct amount of insulin and follow the insulin schedule as recommended by your doctor to avoid under- or over-dosing.7
Insulin injections are painful.2 Many people fear the pain associated with needles. However, you may be surprised by how little an insulin injection hurts. Needles for insulin injections are much shorter and narrower, making injections as painless as possible.7 Some patients have even reported that insulin needles hurt less than the finger-prick test required for the blood sugar test.
Insulin is a lifelong therapy.9 Insulin use can be temporary. Lifestyle changes can also help stop the use of insulin.9 In a study, a 2–3 weeks’ intensive insulin therapy induced a glycemic remission, in which people with diabetes were able to maintain normal blood sugar levels without any antidiabetic medications for up to 2 years.10
Insulin therapy is an important part of diabetes management
Starting insulin therapy is not a setback. If you have type 1 diabetes, insulin is prescribed to replace the insulin that your body is unable to produce; if you have type 2 diabetes, insulin is prescribed when your antidiabetic medication and lifestyle changes, such as dietary changes, weight loss and physical activities are not enough to control your blood sugar levels; insulin is prescribed for women with gestational diabetes when diet alone is unable to lower blood sugar to the desired range.3,11
In fact, insulin is the oldest available diabetes treatment and the most effective treatment to achieve blood sugar control, which can prevent diabetes or hyperglycemia complications.3,12 Insulin therapy is also not the last resort, it is part of the treatment armamentarium available for your diabetes management and helps you get in control of your diabetes.
For effective diabetes control, you may need to understand how to adjust insulin doses. Speak with your diabetes care team for any concerns you may have.
Learn more about why insulin matters in diabetes management.
- Gopisetty D, et al. Clin Diabetes 2018;36:133–7.
- American Diabetes Association. Clin Diabetes 2007;25:39–40.
- Mayo Clinic. Diabetes treatment: Using insulin to manage blood sugar. Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes/in-depth/diabetes-treatment/art-20044084. Accessed May 2022.
- Russell-Jones D, Khan R. Diabetes Obes Metab 2007;9:799–812.
- Braun A. Does insulin cause weight gain? Available at: https://www.verywellhealth.com/does-insulin-cause-weight-gain-5112068#citation-2. Accessed May 2022.
- Moghissi E, King AB. Am J Med 2014;127(10 Suppl):S3–10.
- Medical News Today. What are the side effects of insulin Therapy? Available at: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323387. Accessed May 2022.
- Diabetes Care. Do insulin injections hurt? Get the facts. Available at: https://www.diabetescarecommunity.ca/diabetes-overview-articles/type-1-diabetes-definition/do-insulin-injections-hurt/#:~:text=’.,required%20for%20blood%20glucose%20checking. Accessed May 2022.
- Synder E. Why you shouldn’t be afraid to take insulin. Available at: https://wexnermedical.osu.edu/blog/fear-of-insulin. Accessed May 2022.
- Kramer CK, et al. Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol 2013;1:28–34.
- Health Hub. Why do I need insulin injections? Available at: https://www.healthhub.sg/live-healthy/1313/why-do-i-need-insulin-injections. Accessed May 2022.
- Richard J, Lingvay I. Expert Rev Cardiovasc Ther 2010;8:483–5.