Insulin. The one term you're very familiar with if you're dealing with diabetes; be it for yourself or someone you know. When your body reduces the production of the insulin hormone, you'll need to administer it to maintain normal blood glucose levels. Though for some reason, this is one term that makes the listener squirm in their seats. Are you among those who flinch at the idea of insulin therapy?
Well, you're not alone. Common myths about this therapy have given it a bad rap, but this crucial part of diabetes management is nothing to shy away from! Let's take a closer look at misconceptions about insulin therapy and straighten out the facts for a healthier diabetes management routine.
Myth 1: Insulin Is the Last-Resort Treatment
Many people believe insulin is only for people with advanced, serious diabetes. However, insulin is often pushed to a later stage only because of patients' reluctance. Considering the benefits of insulin in delaying many diabetes-related complications, doctors now prescribe it to people at an earlier stage of diagnosis, rather than waiting until it's absolutely necessary.
Myth 2: Insulin Therapy Is a Sign of Personal Failure
If your doctor advises you to start insulin therapy, it doesn't mean you failed to manage diabetes properly. Diabetes doesn't stay constant. As it progresses, you need more effective therapies to maintain normal glucose levels. So despite your best efforts, you might still need to get started with this.
Myth 3: Insulin Causes Weight Gain
It's true many people who are administered insulin tend to gain weight. Why is that? Insulin helps your body to process what you eat more efficiently, which is a good thing. If you don't adjust your eating habits accordingly, then, you may gain weight. If you have any concerns about this, consult a dietician before you commence the therapy.
Myth 4: Insulin Can Cause Blindness, Kidney Failure or Death
These complications are associated with diabetes itself, not insulin. On the contrary, starting insulin at an early stage of the disease can help delay or prevent these complications.
Myth 5: Insulin Therapy Will Restrict Your Lifestyle
Many people believe starting insulin means they have to rely on caretakers and can't be independent. It's actually the opposite; insulin puts you in a better state to manage your condition. Carrying insulin with you doesn't have to cramp your style, either. Compact insulin devices are convenient to carry — even when you're travelling.
Myth 6: Insulin Is Overcomplicated
In the beginning, information about different insulin preparations, dose calculations and insulin injection sites may overwhelm you. But it only takes a couple weeks to get a hang of it. In fact, managing your diabetes with insulin becomes second nature before you know it.
Myth 7: Insulin Injections Are Always Painful
Injecting insulin multiple times per day is not a pleasant thought to anyone. However, the needles are so thin that the pain is minimal. Some people even find the injection to be less painful than a finger prick.
Myth 8: Insulin Doesn't Work
This myth originates with people who don't stick to proper timing and dosage. Insulin is one of the most effective therapies for lowering blood glucose levels. How much and how often it's needed varies from person to person. It takes some time to quantify the insulin your body needs, so follow through with a bit of attention and patience.
Myth 9: Insulin Is Addictive
Insulin is not a drug you can get addicted to! People typically already have insulin in their blood from birth. When you have diabetes, however, your body reduces its insulin production. This therapy, then, only helps you make up for that lack of insulin.
Myth 10: Using Insulin During Pregnancy Will Harm the Baby
Insulin crosses the placenta in minimal amounts and doesn't harm the baby. In fact, consistently high blood glucose levels are much more likely to complicate a pregnancy and affect the health of the mother and baby.
The best way of dealing with something unfamiliar is informing yourself about it. Is something triggering a red flag in your head? Something bothering you? Have question about your progress? All you have to do is ask and not give in to preconcieved notions or opinion. Information and context are your best friends and your doctor or nutritionist the best go-to resource. Constructive curiosity will go a long way to helping you manage your diabetes better and living a healthier life.
Disclaimer: This content is meant for awareness and educational purposes and does not constitute or imply an endorsement, sponsorship or recommendation of any products. Please consult your doctor or healthcare practitioner before starting any diet, medication or exercise.