July 4, 2011

How Doctors Use The Fear of Insulin

This is one blog that needs to be written, but not for the reasons that many want. This is about the doctors and other healthcare professionals that use insulin as a fear factor and perpetuate the insulin myths.

The insulin myths are just that – a myths. Why is this used by so many doctors? Is it to get compliance with oral medications? - yes. Do the doctors do anything to remove any of the myths and tell the patient that there is nothing to the myths? - seldom. Is it to get patients to make lifestyle changes? - maybe. Is it to get patients to educate themselves? - no.

An editorial (by David Marrero, PhD – Associate Editor) in the July 2010 issue of Diabetes Forecast, that I have a copy of, was written about a year ago and is still relevant today as it was then. The author is a Type 1 and has an excellent understanding of the problems that people with Type 2 diabetes encounter. The last paragraph in the editorial is the best.

Quote – How should you regard insulin if you have type 2 diabetes? Well, of all the treatment options currently available, insulin is the one with which we have the most experience (over 80 years), the least artificial (the human body naturally makes and needs insulin), and often the most potent. It is one of several medications, not a treatment of last resort. If you have type 2, I suggest that you discuss with your doctor whether insulin is a good choice for you now. Don't wait until you have run out of options. Unquote (emphasis is mine).

What is it going to take folks to wake you up to the advantages of insulin? No, I am not talking to those that are managing with diet and exercise, or those that have managed to maintain HbA1c's of 6.5 or less, although they should read this also and learn about insulin. I am directing this to those that consistently have A1c's of 6.6 and greater. These people are in line to develop the complications and probably already have problems with one or more of them.

If you are like me, you may have been diagnosed late, or the doctor has not tried to educate you in managing your diabetes for best management or has discouraged you from testing. These are the people that need to consider insulin for their treatment now.

Read about the myths with facts refuting them here and my blog on insulin myths here. Read what this doctor writes and draw your own conclusions.


Brenda F. Bell said...

Did the article discuss insulin resistance? One issue with insulin therapy in Type 2 diabetes is that of adding more insulin to an insulin-resistant body, or risking the development of (or exacerbation of) insulin resistance.

Obviously, it's more important to avoid short term hyperglycemia that can kill you in months or a few years than it is to worry about 20-30 years down the road.

Another issue with insulin therapy is the initial learning curve, which can be a factor in patients who may have begun to lose cognitive ability (due to a combination of hyperglycemia, advancing age, diabetes-related depression, and/or a hyperbusy life).

That said, those of us who are educated and empowered understand that it should be the therapy of choice more frequently than not.

Bob Fenton said...

No Brenda, the editorial did not discuss insulin resistance. This may be a concern for a few people, but most doctors won't even discuss this.

I don't know where the learning curve came from, but I don't remember having a difficult time. Maybe because I had Gretchen Becker's book which really clarified what the doctor did not want to discuss.

For those that have begun to lose cognitive abilities, oral meds can be just as dangerous and it should be advised for them to have assistance with any medication, not just insulin.

Lose of cognitive abilities should mean special attention for any medication and possible alternatives for care.