Updated 09 February 2017

'If I have to go on insulin, it means my diabetes is really bad'

There are many myths surrounding insulin and many people believe that having to take insulin means you are doomed.


On the other hand, there are also people who believe not having to take any medication means their diabetes is nothing to worry about.

Whether you have to take medication or not, diabetes is a disease where proper management is crucial. By adopting healthy eating habits, exercising regularly and checking your blood glucose levels regularly you can help your body regulate its blood sugar levels far better and avoid unnecessary complications.

Whether you have to go on insulin or not is determined by your body’s blood sugar (glucose) control. Sometimes changing your diet is enough to control blood glucose, and in other cases the combo of diet and non-insulin diabetes medication helps to control blood glucose levels. However, when none of these work, as is the case with type 1 diabetes where the pancreas has stopped producing insulin, artificial insulin is necessary.

Artificial insulin is one of the safest medications around and has been a lifesaver for diabetics for decades.

Sadly, some people falsely believe that insulin causes complications of diabetes and therefore are hesitant to take it. According to a recent US study people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes often resist taking insulin because they fear gaining weight, developing low blood sugar and seeing their quality of life decline. However, the study suggests that these fears are largely unfounded. Insulin actually helps to slow down or prevent diabetes complications and should be taken as a front-line defence, as opposed to a treatment of last resort for non-insulin-dependent diabetes, the research team recommends.



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Dr. May currently works as a fulltime endocrinologist and has been in private practice since 2004. He has a variety of interests, predominantly obesity and diabetes, but also sees patients with osteoporosis, thyroid disorders, men's health disorders, pituitary and adrenal disorders, polycystic ovaries, and disorders of growth. He is a leading member of several obesity and diabetes societies and runs a trial centre for new drugs.

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