September 13, 2010

More of Dangerous Myths – Myths Part 3

Some of the most dangerous problems happen to those who will not use insulin because they have heard some of the lies put forth by the people against insulin. Others originate from people who associate insulin with problems a relative had because of poor or no diabetes management.

These lies are:
1. Insulin causes blindness, amputations, and kidney failure.
2. Insulin causes sterility and sexual dysfunction.
3. Insulin use is the beginning of the end.
4. Insulin is toxic.
5. Insulin use will label me as a drug addict.
6. Insulin causes weight gain.
7. Insulin use will cause insulin shock (now termed hypoglycemia).
8. Insulin use is an inconvenience.
9. Insulin use is resisted by physicians and patients.

What causes items 1, 2, and 3 above is poor to no management of diabetes. Many people that do not manage their diabetes can have blindness, amputations, kidney failure, sterility and sexual dysfunction, and be near the end because they have not controlled their diabetes. Those that tightly manage their diabetes can live long and often healthier lives, with or without insulin.

Insulin is not toxic for the majority of people. However, some people do have allergies to some insulins. This is the only time insulin can be considered toxic.

Number five generally is not a problem; however, I have been questioned by the police about my use of syringes. Fortunately I had the insulin there and the pharmacy RX on the box and after checking, the officer was very polite.

Number six is difficult as initially the increased control insulin can give causes for some weight gain as the cells can now utilize the glucose. However, it is important for for those starting insulin to meet with a dietitian that understands diabetes and can provide guidance in nutrition and food choices. They also need education on counting carbohydrates and adjusting insulin to carbohydrates to prevent hypoglycemia.

This is also how to prevent number seven from occurring. Also the education needs to include the warning symptoms of hypoglycemia and how to test and resolve the problem with the appropriate glucose medication or other fast acting foods, mostly fruit juices.

Number eight can be a problem if you let it be a problem. It does take some adjustment and possible change in environment to manage your diabetes, but your health is more important than an inconvenience. Just remember that preventing the complications of diabetes is worth the effort.

Number nine is true because many doctors and patients resist the use of insulin for various reasons or myths. Often the doctors go along with the threat idea because patients will more readily follow the oral medications route. Often the doctors do not want to spend the time to educate their patients on the use of insulin and are worried about hypoglycemia becoming a problem on insulin.

Sometimes the doctors know that their patients cannot afford the cost of insulin. But most doctors and patients do not take into account the true cost effectiveness of each treatment. Not only are some of the oral medications costly, but the success of oral medications is not always the best when compared to insulin. Also, not everyone can get excellent control with oral medications. A few medical professionals are also not aware that some oral medications when used by themselves or in combinations will cause hypoglycemia.

For me, insulin is the only way that I will probably be able to retain some insulin production from my pancreas. Many people that go the oral medications route only, end up with a pancreas that wears itself out and can no longer produce insulin, forcing the use of insulin. I know that mine still works and that I have to be very careful when I have been able to exercise, or have had to work extra when moving from one apartment to another. I know that I will go low, need to test more often, and reduce the amount of insulin drastically for several days or even a couple of weeks.

I have also found out in the last month what an illness can do to me. I have needed to reduce my insulin usage and now that I am spending time bicycling regularly, I have needed to reduce my insulin further as my pancreas is almost producing more than I can use. A fine turn of events for me, but not one I expected as I still have to lose much more weight, but I will take what I am given. My insulin resistance has obviously dropped, but that could return at any time. So in the meantime, I am testing more often and enjoying life.

There are many more myths, but this will be the last in this series for now. 
Articles used in the above:
Site 1,  Site 2,  Site 3.  Sorry - the links have been broken - discovered 8/8/14.

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