Should a Type 2 Diabetes Patient Avoid Insulin?

Has your doctor mentioned the need for insulin? There are basically two types of insulin: bolus, which is your mealtime insulin, and basal, a long acting insulin.

Before we get any further, I’d like to clarify this does not mean you have Type 1 Diabetes.

When glucose levels remain high over a period of time, a type 2 diabetes patient may be prescribed a basal insulin. This would be injected once daily. The insulin is more than likely in addition to your oral medication. When this isn’t enough to stabilize your glucose levels, mealtime insulin can be added.

It’s amazing to me the information I hear from diabetes clients when we discuss the use of insulin. I see clients with glucose levels consistent in the 200-300 range and I am shocked that insulin has not been prescribed. It is clear, these are not well-managed diabetes patients, and do not understand the ramifications of prolonged high glucose levels.

Yet, another group of people have insulin but are not compliant in using. It can be due to fear – fear of needles, fear of having to use insulin forever, fear of side effects, inconvenience, sense of failure, or cost. Whatever the reason, these patients are ‘noncompliant’, which is how their physician sees them.

Avoiding the use of insulin while maintaining high glucose levels can cause irreparable damage.

If you know my story, I used both basal and bolus insulin. For the record, I hated it. I couldn’t stop taking it fast enough. But, there was a process to discontinue. If your pancreas still produces insulin, you may be able to stop injections or at the very least reduce your dosage.

That’s a big “IF.” If you are willing to make lifestyle changes:
• Consume foods that heal
• Consume foods that are low glycemic
• Reduce stress
• Improve sleep
• Exercise or bring in some form of regular activity
• Learn about the disease that is ravaging your body without you even realizing it

If you are struggling with your glucose levels, don’t wait to make changes. Having to inject insulin is a pain – no pun intended. Insulin is inconvenient. Insulin is costly. Insulin has side effects such as hypoglycemia, weight gain, headaches, or swelling of the hands or feet, and more.

Our bodies are amazing. As a nondiabetic, our system is precise on when and how much insulin is excreted. It automatically knows how to balance our glucose levels when we eat, exercise, and rest. We can never duplicate that process when we manually inject insulin.

Insulin dependent diabetics have to worry about the type of food at each meal, calculate how much insulin is needed and determine if any exercise or activity will be had. Too much insulin, too little or low glycemic food and activity can be a recipe for disaster. It’s estimated that nearly 100,000 people annually are in the ER due to insulin-related hypoglycemia.1

This thought process should be reviewed at each meal and bedtime. Too much insulin at bedtime can cause your glucose to be too low the next morning, leaving you hypoglycemic.

Let me give you an example. I have a client that recently experienced being hyperglycemic and hypoglycemic within a short period of time. She did a great job in reducing her glucose level during the day and was so excited that her energy drastically increased, even at the spry age of 74.

However, not appropriately adjusting her insulin pushed her glucose low leaving her tired the next morning, unmotivated, and mentally ruined her day. She is working to find her balance. Something she had never been taught. Looking back, she feels betrayed by being provided a prescription for insulin without understanding the consequences.

I share this story because too many type 2 diabetes patients are unaware of how to properly manage insulin usage. Typically, these patients are taught to use insulin on a sliding scale – not something I advocate. I believe this leads you down a rabbit hole that’s difficult to recover from. We are doing our patients an injustice.

If you are someone that never sees low glucose levels and increases your insulin dosage to compensate for poor food choices, well, you set yourself up for continued health issues.

Avoiding the need for insulin is not to be taken lightly. While I coach to reduce and eliminate medication and possibly insulin, it is done in a very measured process. Unfortunately, many of my clients come to me too late to stop insulin, those determined to improve, do.

I wish all diabetes and prediabetes patients start to think about steps to avoid the need for insulin. How many diabetes drugs are you taking? One, two, three? Are you also taking insulin?

To find out about the insulin or medication you are prescribed, you really should sign up for this webinar! “Diabetes Drugs, Are They Helping or Hurting You?”