Diabetes - Insulin Myths

Tuesday, February 16, 2016
Diabetes - Insulin Myths

Determining what you know or think you know about insulin is truth or myth.

Myth: Insulin cures diabetes.

Currently there is no cure for diabetes.  Instead, insulin is a method of controlling diabetes.  Insulin supplements what the beta cells of the pancreas cannot make.  Insulin converts glucose into energy and is used to manage daibetes and control glucose levels.

Myth: Insulin injections will disrupt my life.

If your doctor prescribes insulin, don’t panic.  You will not be confined to home.  Instead you will find in time that insulin injections will simply become a part of your daily routine.  Convenience devices like insulin pens and pumps may provide even more flexibility in your daily life.

Myth: Taking insulin means I have failed at managing my diabetes.

Using insulin is not a sign of failure to control your diabetes.  Nor is it an indication of severe health problems or proof that your risk of diabetes complications has increased.  Try as you might, the beta cells in your pancreas are not under your control.  All people with Type 1 Diabetes must take insulin.  It is not uncommon for people with Type 2 Diabetes to reach a point where improved glucose control can only be obtained by using insulin.  This is not your fault.  It is a natural progression of type 2 diabetes.

Myth: Insulin will make me gain weight so I shouldn’t use it.

Insulin can in fact stimulate the appetite but its benefits outweigh its risk of weight gain.  In fact, it is excessive eating that causes weight gain.  A healthy diet that includes portion control, fruits, and veggies, as well as regular exercise remains the most effective way to control weight.

Myth: It does not matter where insulin is injected.

Where you inject your insulin determines rate of absorption.  Injections around the abdomen have the fastest rate of absorption while the thighs and buttocks are the slowest.  Injecting in the arm falls somewhere in between.  Wherever you inject your insulin, be sure to inject into a fatty subcutaneous area of your body.  Also, it is a good idea to rotate injection sites.  Multiple injections in the same place can cause fat deposits to build up under the skin, which can delay insulin absorption.

Myth: Insulin injection will hurt.

A fear of needles is a common complaint for many people taking injections.  However, today’s insulin syringes and pens are virtually painless.  The best way to overcome this fear is to try insulin injections yourself.  If you try it yourself and still feel pain, discuss this with your doctor.  Your injection technique could be a factor.

Written by Beth Ries, RN Certified Diabetes Educator
Last modified on Thursday, February 18, 2016