Learning you may need to start taking insulin can be tough. One of the first questions people ask is, "Why?" The short answer is: If you have diabetes, your body does not make enough insulin or use insulin correctly to manage your blood sugar (glucose). If you are taking diabetes pills, they must work with the body's insulin to be effective. Eventually, if you make too little insulin for the pills to work, you'll need to start taking extra insulin to help manage your blood sugar.
Facts about taking insulin
Important decisions are seldom easy. Knowing some facts about taking insulin can help:
- Many people with type 2 diabetes need to take insulin at some point.
- Taking insulin isn't a sign of failure; it's the appropriate action you need to take to address your body's changing needs.
- You need to take insulin if you can't achieve your blood sugar targets without it.
Of course, decisions involve more than just facts, especially decisions that are as personal as starting insulin. You and your healthcare provider need to determine how the facts apply to you. You may feel fine right now, but high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) may put blood vessels throughout your body at risk. Over time, this damage may affect your eyes and kidneys, cause nerve pain, and increase your chances of having a heart attack or stroke.
Concerns about taking insulin
If you have questions, it's important to get them answered right away. Here are some of the most common questions people have about starting insulin:
- Does taking insulin mean I've failed?
- Do injections (shots) hurt?
- Does taking insulin mean I'm sicker?
- Will I gain weight?
- How will I learn to give myself an injection?
- Will I have low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)?
- Will I have to change jobs or give up my hobbies?
- Will taking insulin be complicated?
If you have questions like these on your mind, talk to someone who knows what taking insulin is like. Your doctor or diabetes educator could be the best person to answer your questions. You may also want to talk with someone you know who is already taking insulin. When you know the facts, the decision will be much easier for you to make.
Many people with type 2 diabetes wonder if they did something wrong when they hear they need insulin. The truth is, you may not have done anything wrong. This is the way type 2 diabetes goes for some people. Your pancreas may no longer make enough insulin to manage your blood sugar. With diabetes, it usually takes more than one tool to get the best results: healthy diet, exercise, pills, and now insulin.