I recently read an article titled, “Strategies for Insulin Injection Therapy in Diabetes Self- Management,” by the American Association of Diabetes Educators. It stated that there is a lot of evidence showing the benefits of insulin therapy. However, insulin continues to be under used in the United States compared to other countries. Only 29% of adults with diabetes in the U.S. use insulin. The results of two surveys recently completed showed that one-third of patients fail to take their insulin as ordered by the doctor and 29% skip their doses1. This tells us that there are many barriers to insulin use, resulting in poor blood sugar control and an increase in complications.
In spite of the importance of insulin therapy both doctors and patients try to avoid it. Doctors tend to prescribe it as a last resort. The Diabetes Attitudes, Wishes and Needs (DAWN) study showed that, in the U.S, insulin therapy is started later than in other countries2. The reasons were based on physician beliefs that insulin should be delayed and patient’s lack of education on insulin.
Patient barriers include:
• False information on insulin
• They no longer have control
• Fear of needles and pain
• Weight gain
• Fear of hypoglycemia
• Too complicated to learn
Physician barriers include:
• Patient will not continue taking the insulin
• Patient will gain weight
• Patient resistance
• Patient lack of education
As an educator, I believe that insulin therapy should be started earlier in the treatment of newly diagnosed diabetes whether type 1 or type 2, control can be achieved sooner. Patients can delay the onset of complications that occur too early and too frequently.
Do you think adding insulin to your medication regimen would help you?
1 Supplement to The Diabetes Educator Vol. 37. NO 6 American Association of Diabetes Educators pg.2-7.
2 Supplement to The Diabetes Educator Vol. 37. NO 6 American Association of Diabetes Educators pg.2-7.