Here are some myths about Insulin and the truth about them
Diabetes has silently emerged as a global pandemic. Unhealthy eating, sedentary lifestyle, and genetic predisposal play a significant role in developing diabetes. There are over 77 million people living with diabetes in India. After getting diagnosed, one has to make many lifestyle changes and include medication to control blood sugar levels.
But with the mention of insulin injection, many people with diabetes ask their doctor to advise an alternative to injection, fearing the things they have read or heard about insulin, most of which are false.
The common myths of Insulin injection are:
Myth 1: Insulin injections are addictive
Fact: Insulin injections are not addictive because the body naturally produces insulin, so one cannot get addicted to it. People with diabetes who cannot produce enough insulin need to take these injections.
Myth 2: Insulin is the last retort:
Fact: Usually, people with diabetes believe insulin is advised for people with advanced, severe diabetes. But after analyzing the benefits of insulin in delaying complications associated with diabetes, doctors now prescribe insulin for people with diabetes much earlier, even at the onset of the disease.
Myth 3: Insulin cures diabetes:
Fact: There is no cure for diabetes; however, the administration of Insulin injections can help manage blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Also, intensive insulin therapy early in course of diabetes has been shown to result in remission of diabetes for a short period in some studies.
Myth 4: Insulin causes weight gain.
Fact: Many people who take insulin injections complain that they gain quite a bit of weight because insulin helps the body utilize food more efficiently. So people with diabetes must eat food accordingly to avoid putting on too much weight.
Myth 5: Insulin injection hurts
Fact: Many people with diabetes fear needles; However, the insulin needles used these days are painless. The best way to overcome the fear of getting injected is to encourage them to inject themselves.
Myth 6: Insulin causes blindness, kidney failure, or death
Fact: Blindness, kidney failure are common complications of poorly controlled diabetes and not insulin. But if insulin injections are administered early, these complications can be avoided.
Myth 7: Using insulin during pregnancy can harm the child
Fact: Insulin can indeed cross the placenta, but the amount that crosses the placenta is very minimal and does not harm the baby; however uncontrolled blood sugar levels harm the baby.
Myth 8: Insulin causes frequent episodes of hypoglycemia or low blood sugar levels.
Fact: Insulin increases your risk of developing hypoglycemia, but with proper education, diet and monitoring of blood sugars, this risk can be minimised or avoided
Myth 9: Once you start using insulin injection, you cannot stop it.
Fact: This statement is true for people with type 1 diabetes as their body is unable to produce insulin; However, for people with type 2 diabetes, the doctor can sometimes switch the injection to medication once the blood glucose levels are controlled. This can be done by diet, exercise, weight loss and medication, especially in the early years after diagnosis of diabetes, as their body can still produce insulin.
Myth 10: Insulin is expensive.
Fact: Insulin is not expensive compared to different medicines that one might use to manage blood sugar levels.
About the author: Dr Tony P Joseph Consultant Endocrinologist Hormone India, GG hospital and Sree Gokulam Medical College Trivandrum