6. MYTH: Insulin will make me gain weight so I shouldn't use insulin.
Insulin can in fact stimulate the appetite but its benefits outweigh its risk of weight gain. In fact, it is excessive eating that causes weight gain. A healthy diet that includes portion control, fruits and vegetables, as well as regular exercise remains the most effective way to control weight gain.
7. MYTH: Insulin is addictive.
You cannot become addicted to insulin. It is a natural substance that the body requires. It is understandable that using a needle to inject insulin might provoke thoughts of drug use and addiction, so if using syringe needles in public causes you concern, try going into a bathroom or talk to your doctor about other methods you can use to administer your insulin, such as pumps.
8. MYTH: It does not matter where insulin is injected.
Where you inject your insulin determines rate of absorption. Injection around the abdomen has the fastest rate of absorption, while the thighs and buttocks are the slowest. Injecting in the arm falls somewhere in between. Wherever you inject your insulin, be sure to inject into a fatty subcutaneous area of your body. Also, it is a good idea to rotate injection sites. Multiple injections in the same place can cause fat deposits to build up under the skin, which can delay insulin absorption.
9. MYTH: Once you start insulin you cannot stop.
Type 1 diabetes is defined as such because insulin-producing beta cells within the pancreas are gradually destroyed and eventually fail to produce insulin. Therefore people with type 1 diabetes require insulin. The treatment for type 1 diabetes also includes a proper diet and exercise. People with type 2, however, are still able to produce insulin at diagnosis but over time, the overworked beta cells of the pancreas can wear out completely and lose the ability to secrete sufficient insulin. People with type 2 may be treated with insulin at one time and then switched to oral medications or other injectable diabetes medications. Some people may even be able to decrease their medications as their blood glucose improves and others still may find they are able to stop taking medications altogether once they lose weight and improve their lifestyle.
10. MYTH: Using insulin means I can eat the way I want.
Great theory, but actually a poor diet means you need more insulin to lower your blood glucose levels. Insulin, like oral medications, are only a part of the diabetes treatment plan. The most effective way to use insulin is in combination with a healthy diet and exercise. However, insulin or any other diabetes medication cannot take the place of you taking care of yourself.
Learn more about Types of Insulin.
Learn more about Injecting Insulin.
Learn more aobout Adjusting Your Insulin Dose.
Learn more about Insulin and Exercise.
Take the Insulin Pump Quiz.
Reviewed by Francine Kaufman, MD. 01/09
- 1-Insulin Myths and Facts. 2007. Clinical Diabetes 25(1)39-40. http://clinical.diabetesjournals.org/content/25/1/39.full
- 2-National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse. What I Need to Know About Diabetes Medication. http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/medicines_ez/. (Accessed 07/07/11)
- 1 - The Journal of the American Medical Association. Starting insulin therapy in patients with type 2 diabetes: effectiveness, complications, and resource utilization. (Accessed 09/08)
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Years before I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, The Other Half came out of a doctor's appointment with a diagnosis of "borderline diabetes" and an ADA exchange diet sheet. His health insurance agency followed up on the diagnosis with a glucometer and test strips. After a year or so of trying to follow the diet plan and test his glucose levels, things appeared to be back in "normal" range, and stood there until a couple of years after my own diagnosis. Shortly...