Five Myths and facts About Insulin

There are many diabetics who are scared of the idea of starting insulin. They think if they start insulin for their diabetes, their life is doomed. However, that need not be the case. One can use insulin and live the normal usual lifestyle. In fact, insulin gives flexibility with eating, that may not be usually available with oral hypoglycemic. If your doctor recommends insulin, never hesitate to start it, because at the end most of diabetics will eventually has to start insulin.

The hesitation of staring insulin by many diabetics lies in many different myths associated with insulin use. Here we bust five such myths and find the facts.

Myth 1:

As long as I use insulin, the site of injection is not important, after all, I am injecting same quantity of insulin.

Fact: this is not the case. Site of injection does matter. Because, the blood supply around the site of injection is an important factor. If the area is rich in blood supply, absorption insulin with be faster, leading to risk of hypoglycemia. Reversely, if the area is poor in blood supply, insulin absorption will be slow leading to high blood glucose level and suboptimal diabetes control. Therefore, it is important to inject insulin around the same site every time or site with similar blood supply, to have a uniform insulin absorption.

Myth 2:

The type of food I eat does not affect insulin absorption.

Fact: True. However, there are other points to consider. The food you eat can affect blood sugar level, even if it does not affect insulin absorption. Foods with high glycemic index can increase blood sugar level faster than foods with low glycemic index, with same quantity of insulin. For example, if you eat high fat food its digestion and absorption may take very long and insulin may “run out” before it and if you eat food with very high glycemic index, it may be absorbed so fast that your usual insulin shot may not be enough and blood glucose may go up.

Myth 3:

As long as I use the insulin within one month after starting it, I do not have to worry about how it is stored.

Fact: Not true always. It is true that opened insulin pack can be stored at room temperature; however, it should be kept away from light and heat. All the unopened packs of insulin should be stored in refrigerator. While flying never put insulin into your checked baggage, because the temperature may fall very much compare to inside the cabin.

Myth 4:

Body temperature do not effect insulin absorption.

Fact: Not true. If body temperature, especially temperature at or near the site of injection rises, it can cause blood vessels to dilate, leading to faster absorption of insulin and risk of hypoglycemia. Hence, avoid taking warm bath, sauna etc. after injecting insulin as it may cause low blood glucose level.

Myth 5:

Site of injection and temperature are the only things I have to worry about.

Fact: wrong. Other than these two factors, there are many other factors that may potentially alter insulin absorption and affect blood sugar level, such as exercise, injecting into muscle, doze error etc.

Hence, never hesitate to start insulin, if your doctor is recommending it. Start it immediately, but learn basic facts about insulin.

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