Top Ten Reasons Not to Start Insulin Therapy

Health Professional
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Reason #10

Aunt Tillie, who was blind and whose kidneys had failed, started insulin shots and died soon after. [Aunt Tillie should have started insulin years ago, before she got devastating complications. Had she controlled her diabetes all along, she may have had less complications and perhaps lived longer.]

Reason #9

I don't want to have to go to restaurant bathrooms and "shoot up" and have others wonder if I'm a drug addict [By using an insulin pen and injecting through clothing, it's a snap to give a shot anywhere: restaurant, automobile, or wherever. It can be done in less than 20 seconds every time.]

Reason #8

Insulin isn't natural - it's synthetic. [Agree. Most insulin products now-a-days are made by chemistry, and no longer extracted from pig or beef pancreases. So what? It's a heck-of-a-lot purer than it used to be: until about 1972, the stuff people used was 90% insulin and 10% impurities; it's now 99+ pure insulin, identical to human insulin, and allergic reactions are almost unheard of.]

Reason #7

Disposing of insulin needles is necessary to avoid addicts getting a hold of them [True! You should dispose of your needles as local regulations require. Ask your physician or diabetes nurse educator what's the best way for you to do so.]

Reason #6

Using a new syringe every time, or needle on the insulin pen, is expensive. [But it's unnecessary. Most folks reuse their lancets for finger-sticking, and reuse their syringes and insulin pen needles, several times.]

Reason #5

I'm afraid of hypoglycemia. [True, hypoglycemia is fairly common with insulin therapy, but with frequent blood sugar testing, and using newer insulins (once daily Lantus or basal-bolus insulin if on more than one shot per day), it's a reasonable trade-off for better diabetes control.]

Reason #4

Taking insulin shots means I've failed at controlling my diabetes. [No! Type 2 diabetes is a progressive disorder, and eventually the beta cells of the pancreas will no longer be able to make sufficient insulin, no matter how hard you've worked at managing your diabetes.]

Reason #3

Insulin makes you gain weight. [True. Insulin is a storage hormone, and converts incoming calories to fat, so if you eat too much, you will gain weight.]

Reason #2

The shots hurt. [Sometimes true, but everyone agrees much less painful than finger-poking for blood sugar testing!]

Reason #1

And the NUMBER ONE REASON not to take insulin: I don't want to. [Can't beat this one. It's your life, and your decision.]