Nowadays everybody knows someone living with diabetes, but how much do we know about diabetes and its management?
1. Globally, one in two people with diabetes is not diagnosed1
Many people with type 2 diabetes remain unaware of their condition for a long time, and according to the International Diabetes Federation, one in two people with diabetes globally is not diagnosed. The reason for this is that the symptoms of type 2 diabetes are usually less marked than in type 1 diabetes and may take years to be recognised.1
2. Most type 2 diabetics will eventually require insulin
Type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease, which means the body’s ability to produce insulin will decline over time, and most patients will eventually require insulin therapy.2
3. Poor blood glucose control can lead to serious complications
To delay diabetes progression and lower the risk of diabetes complications like cardiovascular disease, blindness, kidney failure and nerve damage, diabetics must maintain careful control of their blood sugar levels. Starting insulin therapy might be the most effective way of doing this.1,2,3
4. Starting on insulin is often delayed by patients and physicians
Starting on insulin is often delayed by patients for several reasons, including:2,4
• Denial of the need for insulin
• Fear of injections
• Fear of weight gain and hypoglycaemia (episodes of low blood sugar)
• Complexities associated with insulin use
Starting insulin is often delayed by physicians for several reasons, including:
• Concerns about potential side effects in patients (hypoglycaemia, weight gain)
• Perceived adherence issues
• Difficulties in training patients to administer insulin
5. Starting on insulin is not a personal failure!
Starting on insulin does not reflect a personal failure on the patient’s part, but rather a natural progression of the disease.2
6. Insulin therapy is not a one-size-fits-all
Your doctor will prescribe a therapy and insulin delivery device that best suits your condition and lifestyle.2
7. Insulin devices and needles have come a long way
Great advancements in insulin delivery devices and needles, such as discreet and easy to use insulin pens, and finer, sharper needles, have reduced the inconvenience and pain associated with injecting oneself.5,6
8. Newer insulins aim to reduce side effects*
The goal of new treatments for diabetes is to achieve glucose control with fewer side effects, e.g. reduced risk of hypoglycaemia and blood sugar variations.7
9. Adherence is key
Although it might sometimes feel like your medication is controlling your life, taking medication as prescribed is important to achieve a beneficial outcome and to lower the risk of long-term complications.3,8
10. There are options in treatment!
Newer insulins might offer improved flexibility in dosing with fewer injections, which could improve patient adherence to medication. They may also lower the risk of side effects. Discuss your treatment options with your doctor. 9
*Side effects: hypoglycaemia and blood sugar variations
1. International Diabetes Federation. IDF Diabetes Atlas, 7th ed. Brussels, Belgium: International Diabetes Federation, 2015. Available at: http://www.idf.org/diabetesatlas. Accessed on: 7 November 2016.
2. Levich BR. Diabetes management: optimizing roles for nurses in insulin initiation. J Multidisciplinary Healthcare 2011; 4: 15-24.
3. Stotland NL. Overcoming Psychological Barriers in Insulin Therapy. Insulin 2006; 1(1): 38-45.
4. LaSalle JR & Berria R. Insulin Therapy in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Practical Approach for Primary Care Physicians and Other Health Care Professionals. The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association 2013; 113(2): 152 – 163.
5. Aronson R, et al. Advances in Insulin Injection Research Influences Patient Adherence. US Endocrinology 2013; 9(2): 114–118.
6. Pearson TL. Practical Aspects of Insulin Pen Devices. J of Diabetes Sci and Technol 2010;4(3)522-531.
7. Brod M, et al. The impact of non-severe hypoglycaemic events on work productivity and diabetes management. Value in health 2011; 14: 665-671.
8. Garci´a-Pe´rez LE, et al. Adherence to Therapies in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes Ther 2013; 4: 175–194.
9. Unnikrishnan AG, et al. Review of clinical profile of IDegAsp. Journal of The Association of Physicians of India 2015; 63(Suppl): 15-20.