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Starting Insulin Therapy: What it Does and Does Not Mean

If you're starting insulin therapy, you may be feeling anxious. Get the facts on what insulin means for your diabetes and you.

 

Diabetes is a condition that changes over time. Your diabetes treatment may also need to change to keep your blood glucose levels under control. This can include starting insulin therapy.

If you’re starting insulin therapy for diabetes, it can be an anxious time. To help ease your worries, try to keep in mind a few key points:

What starting on insulin does mean:

  • Your healthcare team has decided this is the best way to help you manage your diabetes and they will work with you to ensure that you understand how using insulin fits into your diabetes management.
  • Taking insulin may be easier than you think. You may have fears about using a needle. But, there are now insulin pens and very small needles that make taking insulin much easier.
  • You’ll need to learn something new and it may take some time. While you may have been living with diabetes for a while, there will be new things to learn when starting on insulin. This includes learning how to administer insulin, when and how much.
  • It may take some time to learn how to adjust your insulin dose based on your blood glucose levels. You may also need to test more regularly. In time and with your healthcare team, you’ll gain a better understanding of how meals and physical activity affect your blood glucose and how to modify your insulin to stay on target.

What starting on insulin does not mean:

  • That you’ve failed or done anything wrong; diabetes changes over time and so can your treatment needs.
  • That you’re sicker or your diabetes has become worse.
  • That your life will be more complicated in ways that you can’t manage. While there’ll be new things to learn, you’re used to managing your diabetes and well equipped to take on this new challenge.

What are the benefits of insulin injections?

  • It will help to decrease the symptoms and effects from high blood sugar levels (or hyperglycemia)
  • Insulin therapy may help reduce your risk of having diabetic complications caused by high blood sugar levels1.

There are many benefits to starting on insulin therapy, and if ever you have any questions reach out to your healthcare team. It’s important to keep an open dialogue with them and to talk to them about any concerns you have about starting insulin therapy, including how to properly administer it.

 

1Canadian Diabetes Association Clinical Practice Guidelines Expert Committee. Canadian Diabetes Association 2013 Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Prevention and Management of Diabetes in Canada. Can J Diabetes 2013;37(suppl 1):S1-S212.

NACO/LFS/0517/0378(1)