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Keep your mind open about insulin


Not many of us start out life with the assumption that we will have a disease at some time. As we grow older and look around, and appreciate our own mortality, we understand that part of being an organism with multiple cells means we may have something go wrong at some time, which includes development of diseases.{{more}} Many of us would paint a picture of perfect health through life. BUT this does not often happen, and, as is the case with diabetes, it can catch you off guard.

The thought of insulin use often does not cross one’s mind either, at least not in a positive way. I was on my way to see a patient this week when the nurse said to me, “Just so you know, he said that he never wants insulin, not ever.” To which I said “I am afraid that is not an option anymore. He has surgery coming up, and his pills cannot be used during that time. Insulin is the only option.”

Many of you out there have a similar reaction to the idea of insulin: no way, no how, not ever, ever, ever. You assume that you will also be able to control your sugars with diet and pills only. You can’t imagine you would ever need insulin.

I urge you to rethink that position. No, I don’t LOVE insulin and I actually try to not put patients on it unless I truly believe they would benefit MUCH more from it, or if there is actually no other option (such as in Type 1 diabetes when insulin is the ONLY option). However, I do know it holds a very important place in the list of options available for people who have diabetes and so it should not be excluded.

Remember: keep in mind that the goal is to stay healthy and sometimes that may mean therapy options you are not a fan of accepting, but must.

There are many patients I have come across who should be treated with insulin, but have refused time and time again. Their sugars stay high and their body continues to deteriorate from the effects of poorly controlled diabetes. In some cases, once I was able to better explain WHY insulin was the best (and at times, ONLY) option, patients accepted it and moved on. But I have had some patients who simply won’t make that move, and their bodies suffer for it.

Be sure to discuss all possible options for treatment with your doctor. In diabetes, diet management is always central, no matter what medications you take. Your medication options depend on a number of factors, including how long you have had diabetes, how well your kidneys and heart are functioning, allergies you may have, if pills work on you or not, if you are pregnant…the list goes on and on. Your medical team takes a lot into consideration when choosing your medications, and when insulin is recommended it is usually for a very good set of reasons.

Keep your mind open. The goal is health, not ease. Easy health would be great, but it is not always possible, so instead shoot for health as the larger goal.

Until next week, stay safe and healthy Vincies!

Anita Ramsetty, MD
Medical Director Endocrine Care Group
Tel: 843-798-4227