Mythbusting: Insulin Therapy Means Pain and Weight Gain

In the last entry in our mythbusting series for people with type 2 diabetes who are being transitioned to insulin therapy, we look at the perception that insulin injections are something painful to be feared, and the fear of weight gain believed to be associated with insulin therapy.

First, many people express surprise at just how little pain is involved in an insulin injection. Typically, extremely small and fine needles are in use today, making the injection so small as to be virtually painless. Remember, insulin is injected into that layer of fat beneath the skin that lacks pain receptors. If you ask around, you'll likely find that people are more apt to find pin pricks for measuring blood glucose to give them more discomfort than an insulin injection.

Regarding weight: Yes, some people may gain some weight after they begin insulin therapy. But the explanation for the weight gain is actually better blood glucose control. When insulin is re-introduced into the body, glucose can once again be effectively absorbed from calories. This amounts to any weight lost from poorly controlled blood glucose to possibly come back.

So there's no actual busting of that myth because it's not exactly a myth. Nor is it the horror some imagine it to be. People with type 2 diabetes on insulin therapy can mitigate weight gain simply by making smarter food and diet decisions. In time the weight gain will level off as glucose becomes better controlled, leading to fewer complications, and let's face it, this is more important than whether you add a few pounds you can easily lose.

Photo: Psychiatric News, Telegraph

Many find that injections are less painful than measuring blood glucose.