Don’t Worry If You Need to Start Insulin

Face your fears! Get answers to your concerns and the lowdown on starting insulin to treat diabetes.

Daniela Lissandrello

You can’t control the beta-cell failure [the ability of your body to supply the necessary insulin].” Chances are, even if you had followed your doctor’s advice, you’d still need insulin—not because you failed, but because your pancreas failed you! 

Concern: “Uh oh, taking insulin means I’m really sick”
No, it just means your pancreas isn’t able to meet your body’s demand for insulin. Luckily, injected insulin can make up the shortfall to help keep your blood sugar in check and head off the complications of diabetes, including blindness, nerve and kidney damage, heart disease and amputation. 

Concern: “I’ll have no freedom or flexibility”
While it may seem like life will start to revolve around monitoring your glucose once you begin taking insulin, the reality is that you have options. Dr. Adler notes that “long-acting insulins used for basal dosing are ‘peakless’—they generally work for 24 hours and are taken once a day. The fast-acting insulins used for bolus dosing start within five to 15 minutes after injecting, which means that the shot is taken right before the meal.” Another option? The pump, which lets you adjust your insulin levels according to your food intake and activity. No matter which method you choose, achieving more stable blood sugar will ease your stress and help you feel more in charge of your everyday routine. 

April 2013