Sunday, October 9, 2011

Newly Diagnosed? Question the Use of Insulin!

Photo by Melissa P
If you’ve recently been told you have either Type 1, LADA, or Type 2 Diabetes, there are decisions about the rest of your life that you may want to decide for yourself. First, you have to recognize the points at which options exist. One such fork in the road is when you’re first told you have to start shooting insulin. Some of you will have a pancreas functioning so low at this crossroads that you have no choice. But the heretical point I’m making for the rest of you is, “Why rush?” I’m extremely lucky to have a brilliant, dedicated, strictly evidence-based DO who answered my questions (it’s still up to you to ask). I asked questions like, “if I still have morning fasting BS readings near normal sometimes, doesn’t that mean my pancreas has the ability to produce normal levels of insulin?” Instead of saying, “it doesn’t matter, you must start insulin now, here’s the prescription”, my DO took the time to share his opinion that there’s no evidence that immediate insulin use is shown to have any better outcomes in a case like mine. It’s true he fully believed then that I would eventually have no choice. But he respected my desire to to use this rarely recognized window of time to explore any reasonable options. He warned me that any endocrinologist would disagree with this plan, and would order insulin, period. That was more than two years ago. So far, so good with my holistic approach experiment (detailed in other posts). I’ve trended steadily down to an A1c of 5.5 and am holding steady. Even if this miraculous reversal ended tomorrow, A1c rose dangerously, and insulin was my only choice to live, I would consider the 2 years gained (without shots in the stomach) to be priceless.

If I were more cynical, I’d suspect the influence of big Pharma money in the Diabetes Establishment’s blind spot regarding the knee jerk use of insulin. I particularly wonder about so many Type 2’s being prescribed it when their pancreas is obviously still functioning and they don’t have the extra hurdle of autoimmune destruction to contend with. But, I don’t think it’s really a conspiracy. I think the assumption by so many well meaning healthcare professionals is that you’re not capable of walking the hard non-insulin road. I think the assumption is that you’re weak, and that there’s no point hoping you’ll give up your beer and potato chips. It’s just simpler to save and extend your life with daily shots, and move on to the next one in line.

Are they right?

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