Insulin: Facts & Fiction

When it comes to starting insulin, there is a lot of incorrect information in the media and on the internet. Read below to separate fact from fiction so you know that you have the accurate information about insulin.

Will insulin make me gain weight?

When your blood sugars are much higher than target, the sugar in your blood cannot be used properly and is eventually eliminated in your urine. Once insulin is started, your body returns to working the way it is supposed to work. This means that sugar no longer builds up in the blood, but instead is allowed to enter your cells where it can be used to energy. If your diet is not well balanced, this can lead to unintentional weight gain. Ensuring your diet is well balanced and being physically active can decrease the chances of gaining weight with insulin initiation.

Insulin means I’ve failed and it’s my last resort

Starting insulin does not mean that you have failed. Type 2 diabetes is something we call a progressive condition. This means that over time, our pancreas will produce less and less insulin. When our pancreas cannot keep up with our body’s insulin demands, insulin (through injections) is needed to help get our blood sugars in control again. Taking insulin injections allows you to help support your pancreas so it no longer has to work as hard to balance your blood sugar.

Insulin is difficult to take and hurts

Insulin injections have come a long way since people first started using them! Until a few years ago, insulin was taken using syringes and vials. However, we now use pre-loaded pens and cartridges, making injections much easier to take. As well, the needles used now are very small (as small as 4 mm!), and much finer than they were previously. The majority of people using the smallest needles report not even being able to feel the needle poke go in!

If I take insulin, it means I have type 1 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes can be managed through a combination of diet, exercise, oral medications AND insulin. Type 1 diabetes, however, can only be managed with insulin. To learn more about the different types of diabetes, click HERE.

If I take insulin, I will have low blood sugars

If you take insulin injections, your changes of a low blood sugar MAY increase if:

-you skip meals
-exercise more than usual
-take too much insulin or take extra oral medications for diabetes

It is important that if you are starting insulin, you know how to use it properly and safely. Talk to your doctor, diabetes educator or pharmacist if you have any questions or if you are experiencing repeated low sugars.

Knowing how to treat a low blood sugar is also very important (read more HERE).

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