Why Insulin is Adverse for Type 2 Diabetes Treatment: Beware; Examining the UK Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD) ― data that characterises about 10% of the UK population ― a team of researchers from the University’s School of Medicine looked at the risk of death for patients taking insulin compared with other treatments designed to lower blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
The team’s epidemiological study found people have greater risk of individual complications associated with diabetes such as heart attack, stroke, eye complications and renal disease when compared with patients treated with alternative glucose-lowering treatments.
“Insulin treatment remains the most longstanding blood-glucose-lowering therapies for people with type 2 diabetes, with its use growing markedly in recent years,” according to Professor Craig Currie from the School of Medicine, who led the research.
“However, with new diabetes therapies and treatments emerging there has been a new spotlight on treatments to ensure what the best and safest form of diabetes treatment is.
Insulin is one of the most commonly prescribed conventional therapies for type 2 diabetes treatment.
If you have type 1 diabetes, taking insulin is an appropriate course of action because your body can’t produce it on its own. Therefore, you need injected insulin to survive.
However, if you have type 2 diabetes, you’re better off not taking insulin. Here’s why:
Why Insulin is Adverse for Type 2 Diabetes Treatment: Beware
Insulin Causes Weight Gain
One of the worst side effects of using insulin for type 2 diabetes is weight gain—one of the key risk factors that lead to type 2 diabetes in the first place.
This is insane! Type 2 diabetes treatment with insulin is like treating alcoholics with martinis!
Insulin makes overweight patients gain more weight, and this excess weight drives blood sugar up even more. Seeing this, doctors usually respond by increasing the insulin dose, which in turn drives weight and blood sugar still higher. Before long, the patient is taking an obscene amount of insulin and doesn’t have a prayer of controlling his or her ballooning weight.
This effect was first documented in the 1970s when a large, long-term, government-funded study, demonstrated—contrary to expectations—that insulin use conferred no advantages as a treatment for type 2 diabetes. Yes, it lowered blood sugar levels, but compared to study participants who implemented only lifestyle modifications, there were no significant differences in fatal and nonfatal complications of diabetes.
Furthermore, participants who took insulin gained an average of 14 pounds.
Insulin Increases Blood Pressure
Taiwanese researchers looked at more than 87,000 patients with type 2 diabetes who were treated with either oral drugs or insulin. They found that patients using insulin had a higher prevalence of hypertension (61.3 versus 53.9 percent), and the longer they used it, the greater their risk.
This is not surprising. Injected insulin increases sodium retention and stimulates the sympathetic nervous system. It induces oxidative stress, leading to free-radical damage that impairs the function of the endothelial cells lining the arteries. It also has growth factor–like activity that thickens blood vessels and increases risk of atherosclerosis.
Because people with diabetes are already at dramatically increased risk of hypertension and cardiovascular disease, the last thing they need is a type 2 diabetes treatment that amplifies this risk.
Insulin on Diabetes Type 2 patients causes Low Blood Sugar (Hypoglycemia)
Low blood sugar is the most serious complication associated with insulin. Also referred to as insulin reaction, it occurs when your blood sugar drops below a certain level. If your insulin dose is too high or is delivered too quickly, your blood sugar level may drop so low that it can impair brain function. In the most severe and untreated cases, low blood sugar can cause you to have a seizure, pass out, or even go into a coma.
Signs and symptoms of low blood sugar include feeling weak, drowsy, or dizzy, experiencing shakiness, confusion, anxiety, nausea, or headache, blurred vision, and sometimes a loss of consciousness.
Although not always possible to do, the only way to know for certain if you’re experiencing low blood sugar is to test your blood sugar level — a reading under 70 mg/dl often indicates hypoglycemia. Some people can dip to that level without any signs or symptoms, especially if they’ve had diabetes for a long time. If you test and see low blood sugar numbers yet feel no effects, talk to your doctor.
To treat low blood sugar, Take a glucose tablet (“sugar pill”) or sip a sugary drink as soon as you see a dangerous blood sugar reading or detect any signs or symptoms. This will bring your blood sugar level back up.
To prevent low blood sugar, it’s important to understand how insulin works and to be vigilant about your treatment regimen, says Joel Zonszein, MD, director of clinical diabetes at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, N.Y. Make sure your doctor spends the time necessary to teach you what you need to know about insulin therapy for type 2 diabetes.
“Everyone who takes insulin should know how to monitor their blood sugar,” says Aaron Cypess, MD, PhD, MMSc, an assistant professor at the Harvard Medical School and an assistant investigator and staff physician at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. But don’t think of your initial insulin education as all you’ll ever need — have your doctor repeatedly review the signs and symptoms of low blood sugar with you, he says. “The problem with insulin is that it has a very narrow range that works, and finding that proper range can be tricky.”