8 Myths About Insulin

by Randy Rieland Editor

People tend to have a lot of misconceptions about insulin—who needs to take it, how it affects your body, how it may change your life. Here, compliments of the American Diabetes Association, is a debunking of the common myths.

Myth: Almost everyone with diabetes needs to take insulin

Although a lot of people with type 2 diabetes may eventually need to take insulin, that’s not always the case. Of adults with diabetes, only 14 percent use insulin, 13 percent use insulin and another oral medication, 57 percent use only an oral medication and 16 percent are able to control their blood sugar using only diet and exercise.

Myth: Needing to use insulin is a sign of failure

Not at all. Because type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease, many people over time need to add insulin to their regimen to keep their condition under control.

Myth: Insulin shots are painful

Not anymore. In fact, with the injector pens now on the market that allow you to snap on tiny needles, it’s practically painless.

Myth: Insulin can make blood sugar levels too low

It is possible, but not that likely for people with type 2 diabetes. If you feel shaky after a shot, consuming a piece of hard candy or drinking a little juice can raise your sugar to safe levels.

Myth: Oral medications are better than insulin

Yes, they can work well for many people with type 2 diabetes. But they don’t work for everyone. In some cases, insulin is the best option because it always works.

Myth: Insulin causes weight gain

It can, but that’s because insulin allows your body to use food more efficiently. Often, however, as insulin treatment continues, this tends to even out and slow weight gain.

Myth: Insulin is addictive

Some people assume that because taking insulin involves getting shots. But it’s just not true. It’s a natural substance your body needs.

Myth: Insulin changes your life—and not in a good way

Some people believe that once they start taking insulin that they can no longer be independent, live alone or travel. No, no and no. So long as you do some advance planning, there’s no reason why you can’t do everything you did before you started insulin. In fact, because you have more energy, you probably will be able to do more.

Randy Rieland
Meet Our Writer
Randy Rieland

Randy is a former editor for HealthCentral.