Adding insulin --- what's that all about?

I have a sick feeling in my stomach that after my next A1C and other
tests we might be adding insulin to the mix of my meds and treatment. I know that most of you have been on insulin forever, so it’s rather a dumb question to be asking type I’s about. Yet, you are in the experts on insulin, so that’s why I am posting this to both Type I and II discussion boards.

I’m NOT against this, but not necessarily sold on it either for many reasons.

I didn’t know where to post this, so am putting it on both the type I and type II threads.

Tell me your experience with adding insulin to your treatment plan.
How did you go about the change, how did it work out for you. I do
realize that we are all different, but generalizations will do.

No need for panic and long explanations…just simple information will suffice.


I was misdiagnosed as Type 2 and after a year+ on oral meds my numbers started to climb and I knew I needed insulin, I just didn’t know why I needed it so soon. I went to the doctor and said I was ready to start on insulin. I did fiddle around with this decision for about two months too long so I guess I had some hesitation. My adjustment was rocky because I was started as a Type 2 and it was all wrong dosages so I had to re-diagnose myself, get it confirmed and get on the right regimen. I was also living in a third world country at the time but that’s another story. Once I got on the right doses it’s become fairly stable and almost routine as in “no biggie”.

For me my “life as a type 2 on oral meds” was pretty much one of denial where I took my meds and made no other changes in my life and it worked to give me good numbers for awhile so I wasn’t motivated to do more. Now it’s a lot more work so comparing the two treatments is like apples and oranges. I know I feel really good about where I’m at now and a strong sense of confidence and accomplishment.

I replied to your other discussion “Insulin–Another Question” & hope you don’t mind being asked what your reservations are. Certainly understand fear of the unknown, but if we knew your concerns we could better address them.

From what I’ve read here, T2s have better control on insulin when meds don’t cut it, or they’ve had side-effects on meds. I’ve also read T2s who feel like they’ve failed or are getting “worse” when insulin is added. My perspective is skewed as a T1 without a choice about insulin, but whatever helps you manage the best is the most important thing.

I’m a T2 on insulin. It was one of those things that I knew was inevitable, and I didn’t want it. But, going on insulin has been a good choice for me. We tried different dosages and when I was diagnosed with gastroparesis had to start all over again. But I am really glad we switched over because I have great control, I feel good, A!C of 5 – don’t be afraid of the step. I have been steady on the same dosages now for about 6 months and everything is great.

I live a very busy life and manage the shots and BS checks and routine easily enough. You can do very well! Good Luck.

As a type 2 you can anxious about going on insulin. Thinking that taking shots will be terrible, that insulin will cause you to gain weight, or worse that moving to insulin is a “failure.” In truth, none of that is true. A documentary on the discovery channel followed several people as they went through similar moves to insulin, you might find it helpful. You can watch it here

Properly managed, insulin can be a relief. Frankly, I am already on two injects a day with Byetta. I can tell you from my experience that fears about injections are quickly put aside, you get used to it quickly. Insulin may make you gain weight, you won’t just be able to eat whatever you want, you still need to watch you diet. But with a good diet insulin is not a recipe for weight gain. And in the end, insulin is just another therapy. We are all diabetics, taking insulin is no more a failure than taking metformin.

When you feel more comfortable, you might think about buying some books. I found “Think like a Pancreas” by Gary Scheiner and “Using Insulin” by John Walsh particularly helpful. If you know everything about insulin before starting, it is a lot less daunting.

Although I am Type 1 I’ll share with you what I’ve learned about Type 2. I get a lot of enewsletters and it seems like the consensus is that Type 2s should be on insulin. Although it is a decision you have to make I would urge you to take insulin. When someone with T2 is on orals and drs keep prescribing different orals because of highs, think about what damage is done until the right solution is found.

I am T2 on insulin (meal time only currently). A1C - last 5.8% I also use Byetta and metformin.

Adding insulin was a no brainer for me. I was diagnosed with D after a long course of steroids (3-4 months) for asthma and pneumonia, and despite coming off the steroids, I remained with D. I was high post-prandially despite very low carb diet, and felt like crap when I was high - although not overly high - 200-.300 for a very short period of time - 1-2 days. When I called my doc, he wanted me to add meal time insulin (Apidra). I wasn’t hesitant at all. I wanted to feel well.

I learned to carb count and we found what my insulin to carb ratios were and adjusted from there. Initially I dosed on the low side to try to avoid lows and I was very afraid of killing myself. I have had very few lows on insulin. Insulin worked wonderful for me and is working wonderful for me. As I mentioned, I 99% of the time,my highs are post-prandial, and it has helped me to greatly control these numbers. I also figured out my insulin sensitiviry factor, or the how much 1 unit insulin corrected my BG, and correct according to that so I can have numbers in the low 100’s as a goal.

It has given me great flexibility as to what and when I can eat. I work a 13 hour shift at work and flexibility is very inportant in food, because I have no set meal time - it varies greatly every day. I am not suggesting you indulge in foods, I have not done that (in fact I have lost 35 lbs since this all started). But I am not a person who can not do withy ANY carbs in my meal plan and even 15g-30g carbs were causing huge spikes in my BG despite exercise, etc. Using Insulin has allowed me to have this flexibility.

I have been recently put back on steroids for a short course and my sugars have been pretty labile. I would not have any control of this without the insulin. I feel that insulin should not be used as the LAST option in treating T2, and it is NOT a failure, rather an approach to managing a disease in which high BG numbers unchecked can have life long implications.

Me too, except for the 3rd world country :slight_smile:

I think I remember that I was scared, it was so much more there in face now that I would be taking shots. A little over a year later & I just started the pump, I can’t believe this isn’t mandatory for ALL diabetics.

I would love to have a pump with the amout of injections I take every day to tightly control my numbers. We (the endo and I) haven’t moved this way yet as I am not needing much in the way of basal insulin yet. I have lost 35 lbs (I am happy to say I am no longer “obese” according to the BMI chart - just overweight now!) since this all started and I believe has been partly due to the injections - in the past, when I may have grabbed a handful of pretzels at work (or grazed on snacks), I know think twice, because any carb in my mouth requires an injection and it is another needle I don’t want have to do on top of the several I already do.

about a year ago I was at a diabetes conference which was covering type 1 and 2 in adults and children and directed mostly at medical professionals. One of the things i remember from that is them telling the docotors in the room not to be afraid to put their type 2 patients on insulin. that too often it is seen a punishment ‘if you can’t control your diabetes with diet and exercise and oral meds i will have to put you on insulin’ and they also said that type 2s will often have poor A1Cs for too long before going on insulin. But they said insulin should be considered sooner because the important thing in any diabetes is good BG control and if insulin works, why not use it.
I myself do not have diabetes (my son and hubby are type 1), but if i was diagnosed type 2 ever, i wouldn’t leave it very long before I asked to go on insulin if i was having trouble getting my BG under control.

I was diagnosed as a type 2. The pills made me sick to my stomach and did not do a thing for controlling my blood sugars. I kept asking the doctor if there was something else we could try. Finally she said there was only one thing left to do and that was to put me on injections. It was the best thing that I could have done for myself at the time. Try it you may find out it is not as bad as you think it is going to be.

What ever works is what you need to do.

If the A1c is above 6.5 as a T2 you need to try something more appropriate for getting your BGs down.

I like being on insulin better than pills, Its easer to control and it seems safer than all those pills. needles are so small now, that I seldom feel them. Its no big deal - Cheers

I’m a Type 1 so I have no choice, but Insulin is not scary. What’s scary is losing your eyesight, going into kidney failure, or losing a limb.

For most people, insulin makes them feel better, and allows for better control. Like Zoe, I was initially misdiagnosed as Type 2, but went on insulin within a week and I can’t even begin to tell you how much better I felt on it (I have Type 1). Of course, the danger of being on insulin is the hypos. There are ways to avoid hypos, and it’s good to always carry an emergency kit (that includes glucose tabs). But feeling infinitely better in the here and now outweighs any negatives.