General Question

Aster's avatar

Are insulin shots Really helpful in diabetes or harmful? Anything better?

Asked by Aster (19984points) September 8th, 2010

Some internet doctors and alternative practitioners say insulin is a harmful hoax for diabetics and that all they need to get well is exercise and lose weight. What do You think?

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17 Answers

Dr_Dredd's avatar

They’re helpful if you don’t want to die of hyperglycemia. I’ve had people who don’t take their insulin and come in to the emergency department in comas with blood sugar values in the 800–900 range. Definitely a bad thing.

Aster's avatar

@Dr_Dredd so is that more serious than their sugar falling to 50? Why would it go t 50 if taking insulin?

Lightlyseared's avatar

Insulin allows the body to use glucose for energy by helping to transport it from the blood in to the cells where it is needed. It is natural chemical the body produces. Without it you’ll end up in diabetic ketoacidosis and if you do not receive immediate medical care you’ll die. This is because none of the bodies cells will have the energy they need to work such as muscle cells in the heart, neurones in the brain, important cells lime that.

Type 1 diabetics have no or very limited ability to produce their own insulin. No amount of dieting and exercise will alter that what ever some fuckwit has put on the internet.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Dr_Dredd I think she is referring to Type II diabetics maybe?

Aster's avatar

Yes, type II, thanks!

JLeslie's avatar

@Aster If their sugar falls too low they need to suck on a candy, but better to learn to adjust insulin so your sugar does not get too low. High sugar levels lead to blindness, inability to heal well, limb amputation, kidney disease, heart disease. Diabetes is a death sentence if not controlled. Of course it is mor eideal to eat well, lose weight, and get rid of diabetes that way, but while a persons sugar is very high, they need to address it immediately with insulin while working on losing weight and exercising.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Aster Don’t treat this as gospel, because I’m no doctor. Dr Dredd is way more qualified than I am, but I have come across articles discussing type II diabetics, and they typically are overweight. I think the article referred to obesity tends to reduce insulins effectiveness. That might be were the viewpoints started.

shilolo's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe is correct that in some cases, significant weight loss, exercise and nutritional-lifestyle changes can correct and control mild-moderate type II diabetes. However, this does not work for Type I diabetics that do not produce insulin at all. Furthermore, most people don’t have the discipline to follow the strict nutrition/exercise regimens required to control Type II diabetes. Insulin in any event is not the first drug used to treat type II diabetes, as there are several classes of oral medicines used prior to instituting an insulin regimen.

Ben_Dover's avatar

If changing your diet and exercising works for you, there you go. I believe that Metformin is the drug of choice these days for prescribing physicians to help you begin to balance your blood sugar levels.
If you are beginning to see levels of your blood sugar dropping to below 70 (kike 50) you are going into hypoglycemia and you need to start eating small meals 6 or 7 times a day.

No more refined sugars. No cake, candy, ice cream, orange juice from concentrate…and watch out for foods that turn to sugar once ingested.

Rarebear's avatar

This is SO not a question to be asking on Fluther, if it’s serious medical advice that you’re wanting. You really need to speak with a qualified medical professional.

Seaofclouds's avatar

From my experience, type II diabetics have been able to control their sugar level with diet and exercise once they have lost some weight and gotten to a healthy weight. While they were working on modifying their diet and losing weight, they used insulin to keep their sugar from being too high. @JLeslie did a wonderful job at explaining the risks of high blood sugar levels.

Mom2BDec2010's avatar

My fiance has diabetes and he works out and is in shape but he still has to take his insulin and I don’t see how it can be considered harmful when people without diabetes bodies produces it natural.

But everytime he doesn’t take his insulin he ends up with blood sugar through the roof or he’ll start to have seizures. Most the time we have to take him to the hospital.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

Type II diabetes does not automatically mean that someone will not need insulin. As @Adirondackwannabe pointed out, many Type II diabetics are overweight. This will cause something called insulin resistance, where insulin’s effectiveness at peripheral targets (e.g. muscle) is diminished. Often, this can be counteracted with oral medications, as @shilolo said. However, sometimes this is just not enough, and insulin must be used.

Interestingly, in people with morbid obesity and diabetes, bariatric surgery can return blood sugar levels to normal. Lifestyle changes can help, but they are not always easy to achieve.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Thanks Dr Dredd.

taulandi's avatar

That’s the best way of keeping blood sugar under control (diet, exercise, losing weight, keeping away from bad habits, and on). However, not all diabetics can achieve this; that is why medications (such as insulin) are prescribed although their side effects.

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