Insulin; what’s to fear ?

Posted by jdiakiw @jdiakiw, Nov 15, 2020

I get a sense from some posts that one should avoid insulin at all costs. If 10 units in a painless stomach injection keeps you in a steady rate and excellent ‘time on target ‘ what is the risk? I’m in the target zone 80% of time and it’s recommended to achieve over 65%. I get a small peak after a meal and I never go above 10 mml/l., after a hearty meal . With my freestyle monitor I can see exactly how an apple affects my blood sugar or how a brisk 30 minute walk affects it. Should I expect something ominous because I am taking 10 units of insulin? My dr has some patients he started on 20-40 units daily.

@jdiakiw My doctor started me on insulin when I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. After surgical removal of most of my pancreas, I have no choice but to use insulin. Between the basal and the bolus, I am taking 50 units of insulin a day. For me, the greater risk would be not taking insulin.

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We haven't read anything about his diabetes in relation to his prostate cancer surgery. He did immuno–therapy after the surgery and no chemo. He also has had a colonoscopy to check for cancer. They said he is now clean. He has had back pain as well and has avoided pain meds so he doesn't cause a spike in his blood sugar. The fasting blood sugar number says a lot to me this week. Diet and Metformin is not lowering his numbers enough, if any. Dorisena

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I don't really want to have a partime "in range" with numbers over 200 what could cause damage to my eyes, hearing, and brain. I know that I can stay safely below and my cousin chooses 180 as her top high number, but she exercises more than I do. Being out of range part time is not good for my long term health, in my opinion, so I choose to do better and I can achieve it. I do not settle for being somewhat better, as my hearing is bad and I fear it getting worse in time. Your doctor is choosing your goal for you. He may not believe that wellness is achievable with diabetes. We are talking about creeping decline in your body. My husband declined into dementia as I lived with his poor thinking skills which and falling asleep in the middle of a sentence. He did nothing to control his diabetes, and laughed at my concerns. The sugar in his diet fed his cancer which metasticized into his spine and killed him. It was not a nice way to die, and I had to watch his suffering until they put him on a morphine pump. He didn't eat for six weeks and died, very slowly and painfully. No fun at all.
If you want to see the effects of poorly managed diabetes, I can send you to a church of mainly old folks who fall asleep after church during the "snack" and discussion period following the service. Some of them sleep through the service. My husband did for several years. I had to punch him constantly to stop the loud snoring as he had breathing problems and his breath was intolerable. He lived in denial and died at age 71. I am not about to repeat that lifestyle.
I am not arguing about insulin. When it is needed, use it. But choose to achieve better goals than part-time "range" and you will appreciate the improvement.
My grandchildren say I need to plan to live to age 100. So I plan accordingly. I suppose I could choose to die sooner, and have poorer health long the way.
Yes, I agree we are not all the same. That's why we communicate on this site. Dorisena

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@marvinjsturing

@jdiakiw My doctor started me on insulin when I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. After surgical removal of most of my pancreas, I have no choice but to use insulin. Between the basal and the bolus, I am taking 50 units of insulin a day. For me, the greater risk would be not taking insulin.

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I totally agree with you, marvin. I am not arguing about whether or not using insulin is good. Of course, it is a lifesaver for many. My concern in about not getting to high blood sugar numbers in the first place, because of the potential damage long term. Insulin is necessary for some whose pancreas may not be working well at all. I know that my system works, but not well enough to eat every carb I want and have good health. If my system shuts down in the future, I will be on insulin the remainder of my days. Doctors believe that using insulin is easier for controlling blood sugar in some cases. Since I like to cook from scratch, I can choose diet for good results.
My college professor indicated that he believed my pancreas would shut down totally in the future. He said it would wear out and die from the low blood sugar problems. That is when I chose a controlled diet and started eating six times a day. I am in pretty good shape right now but staying cautious about everything. I can get by on eating three times a day and having a glass of milk in the evening. Dorisena

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In many cases insulin is a life-saver, or at least a life extender. I’m not a doctor or medical professional, so I’ll try to answer this based on my understanding from my engineering background.

Your body naturally manufactures insulin based on the need, the more food and higher carbs the more the need. The purpose is to bring your blood sugar down to the normal range.

When someone has type 2 diabetes, their body usually does not process the insulin as efficiently as someone without diabetes or has developed a resistance to it. (Note that type 1 is totally different) This means the body has to produce more insulin than normal, and can’t keep up with the demand. So by adding insulin to what is produced, your body will get used to having that extra amount, and over time will require more to keep up with the demand. You would naturally build up a resistance to the insulin, or add to the resistance your body already has.

By eating a more diabetes-friendly diet and exercising, you are helping your body adjust, and lower the rate of increase of resistance to insulin. Other medications may also fill that purpose, usually starting with metformin and adding additional medications (usually to maintain an A1c of 7.0 or below).

The above does not mention the headaches associated with taking insulin. It is much easier to wind up with severely low blood sugar that could do major damage to your body. It becomes a balancing act, providing enough insulin to lower the blood sugar sufficiently without overdoing it, so to balance things without insulin is much easier (and safer) to maintain your goal.

That is my understanding of the situation; I hope that helps.

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Excellent explanation, Howard!

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I’m a type 1 diabetic on insulin and had been struggling to get a handle on my blood sugar numbers and decided to make a major lifestyle change and switch to a Vegan diet it’s only been a couple weeks but I can see a big difference. If you are curious I highly recommend watching a few documentaries that I did for some information: What The Health, Forks Over Knives and The Game Changers.

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One explanation I can think of is that a nurse told me how it is hard work for the body to digest all that meat into useable energy so it would be logical that a vegan diet would be less work for the body to digest what is needed. She said the advantage is that the digestion of meat results in using up more calories in your body so that could be why you don't gain weight. Either way, we need to avoid sugar since it doesn't provide needed beneficial nutrients but does provide calories for possible weight gain. And it makes my knees ache! Avoiding sugar reduces joint pain in the long term. Now if I could just exercise to burn some stored fat, that would be a great improvement. I am working on it. Dorisena

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I am not replying to any particular post. My doctor and my Pharm.D. have reduced my only insulin, Lantus, from 50 units a day to 30 units a day, reduced my metformin from 2000 to 1000 a day and eliminated my glipzide. I have had frequent hypo episodes with with an A1C of 6.0. What can account for this change in condition? Lewis

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Have you lost weight or changed your eating habits? A change in medication for other health items (heart, etc.) could also account for this. Also, have you ever had occasion to question the storage or quality of your medication?

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I don't understand the concern. If my A1C were 6.0 and the doctor lowered my medications, I would think that is because you don't need as much medication anymore and are doing well. Hypo problems can be solved by eating balanced meals at regular intervals and avoiding stress. The higher dosage of meds could be causing low blood sugar. Some meds are advertised to be cautious of low blood sugar. But I have not taken any of those meds, so I have no experience about that. Those of us who don't need meds are not anxious to start on some of the advertised products out there because we are successful with diet and exercise alone. Losing weight is usually very helpful. I started with no meds, then two , then the Endocrinologist recommend two Metformin at night, and I have successfully decreased to one Metformin at night. If I lost some weight, I would have lower AIC, I believe. Dorisena

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