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Insulin? A pump? What's next for your diabetes treatment?

Life with diabetes is a lot of things, but it's never boring. The minute you think you've got it all down, something changes. Since many of us tend to resist change, and a change in your self-care routine can be downright scary, here's some food for thought.

What's on your mind? Write it down.

Learning new techniques? The possibility of lows? Being connected all the time? Needles? These ideas can be overwhelming when you're awake at 3am and staring at the ceiling. But written down on paper (or a screen), they become much more manageable. And once you know the questions, you can get answers.

Get the truth about insulin and type 2.

Did you know that within 10 to 20 years of being diagnosed, most people with type 2 diabetes need insulin?1 Still, folks worry that a switch to insulin means they aren't doing a good job, or that insulin causes blindness or other health problems.2 Ignore all the noise and trust these 3 points:

  1. Over time, it gets harder to control your blood glucose, no matter what.1 That's what doctors mean when they say diabetes is "progressive." And it's why so many people ultimately switch to insulin.
  2. Insulin doesn't cause harm. Sometimes people start insulin too late, and they blame insulin for damage that was already done by high blood glucose. Even better, insulin doesn't have any of the side effects of other diabetes therapies.1
  3. You can handle the needle. Many people fear the switch to injections, but once they actually see how tiny the needle is, it's no big deal.1

The freedom of pumping―not a contradiction.

People often wonder if they'll feel tied down if they're wearing a pump 24/7. But it turns out that the opposite is often true. Switching to a pump can mean freedom to sleep later, eat when and what you want, and continue to take part in any activities you enjoy. So here are 3 things to remember if you're not so sure about the pump:

  1. You can always take it off. In studies, most pumpers find it more convenient and less burdensome than injections,3 but you can go back to injections for a day or forever.
  2. Different needle materials, sizes and types mean you're likely to find an infusion set that's so comfortable, you won't even notice it's there.
  3. You won't be alone. Learning to pump takes some effort and pump companies want you to get it right. That's why Roche and others provide pump training and support whenever you need it.

Talk to someone who knows.

You're not the first to start using insulin or wonder about living with a pump. So ask someone who's been there. We recommend the TuDiabetes forums, but you can go anywhere you feel comfortable. There are tons of resources online!

1Everyday Health. Insulin for type 2 diabetes: when, why and how. Available at: http://www.everydayhealth.com/type-2-diabetes/treatment/insulin/. Accessed October 24, 2016.

2Karter AJ, Subramanian U, Saha C, et. al. Barriers to insulin initiation. Diabetes Care. 2010;33(4): 733-735. Available at: http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/diacare/33/4/733.full.pdf. Accessed October 24, 2016.

3Gentry CK, Cross LB, Gross BN, McFarland MS, Besterman WH. Retrospective analysis and patient satisfaction assessment of insulin pump therapy in patients with type 2 diabetes. South Med J. 2011;104(1): 24-8. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21079529. Accessed October 24, 2016.

 

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