Insulin for People with Type 2 Diabetes
Insulin is a hormone produced by your pancreas. Often referred to as the “most powerful” hormone in the human body, we all need insulin to live. Without enough insulin, your body cannot use the sugar (glucose) in your bloodstream for fuel. Without enough insulin, your the amount of sugar in your bloodstream can rise to above-normal levels that threaten your short-term and long-term health.
In people with Type 2 diabetes, your body is struggling with two things that can lead to high blood sugar levels:
- Insulin resistance: This is when your body isn’t responding to normal amounts of insulin and isn’t able to use that insulin effectively to manage your blood sugar levels. Some insulin resistance can be improved through lifestyle changes (like physical activity and weight-loss). For some people, insulin resistance is a deeper issue that cannot always be easily changed. This means you may need support from diabetes medications or insulin to help you manage healthy blood sugar levels.
- Beta-cell dysfunction: This is when your body struggles to produce normal amounts of insulin. Beta-cells are produced by the pancreas, then those cells produce insulin. In many people with Type 2 diabetes, your body struggles to produce normally functioning beta-cells which means you don’t produce enough insulin. This can worsen over time, and your body is able to produce less and less insulin over time. This means you’ll need more support from diabetes medications or insulin to help you manage healthy blood sugar levels.
After being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, your doctor will likely prescribe the oral medication metformin first. You’ll also be encouraged to make changes in your food and exercise habits. However, because many people with Type 2 diabetes experience gradual beta-cell dysfunction, insulin may eventually be the best medication to help you manage safe and healthy blood sugar levels.
It’s okay if you need insulin!
There is a great deal of shame and guilt that can come with needing insulin as a person with Type 2 diabetes. It’s important to note that starting insulin is never the fault of the person with diabetes and that this treatment is to help improve or maintain a high quality of life. Beginning an insulin regimen to manage or improve your blood sugar levels does not mean you have “failed” at diabetes management.
It simply means your body needs insulin to help you manage healthy blood sugar levels.
Today, there are so many types of support and technology to help you live well with diabetes, including long-acting and rapid-acting insulin, inhaled insulin, continuous glucose monitors that check your blood sugar without daily finger pricks, smart insulin pens, and insulin pumps!
Check out the resources below to learn more about insulin and how it’s used to manage Type 2 diabetes.
Insulin Resources for Type 2 Diabetes Management:
Guide: Talking to Your Doctor About Insulin for Type 2 DiabetesStarting insulin therapy for Type 2 diabetes can be overwhelming – there’s a lot to learn! Here are some questions to ask your doctor to help you get started with using insulin.MORE
Guide: Using a Smart Insulin Pen to Manage Type 2 DiabetesInsulin pens can be an incredibly convenient option for people with type 2 diabetes who manage their condition with insulin.MORE
Inhaled Insulin: Myths Vs. FactsInhaled insulin has been around for several years, but there are many myths about this zero-poke method of taking insulin.MORE
Talking to Your Doctor About Inhaled InsulinYour doctor might not know Afrezza's inhaled insulin can be used in Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Here are a few tips to start the conversation.MORE
The Benefits of Logging InsulinLogging your insulin may seem tedious, but it actually has benefits that can improve your Type 2 diabetes management. Read our easy tips here. MORE
How Smartpen Devices Help People with Type 2 DiabetesInsulin pumps aren't the only option for people with T2D to improve their care. Smartpens are a new way to learn how well your insulin regimen is working.MORE
Logging Insulin Dosages 101Just starting insulin? This easy guide will help you learn how to log your insulin dosages and when to determine the best times. MORE
Syringes vs. Pens vs. Smart Pens: Pros and ConsNeed a quick breakdown of the pros + cons of syringes, insulin pens, and a smart pen? Learn which insulin delivery method may work for you.MORE
Insulin & Temperature: Why It’s Really ImportantInsulin is very sensitive to hot and cold temperatures. Even an hour in a hot car can spoil your insulin. Learn how to keep it safe...MORE
How to Calculate Insulin Dosing for MealsTaking insulin before meals? Learn how to calculate how much you need before eating using these easy tips. MORE
The Type 2 Diabetes Guide to Basal InsulinBasal insulin works like a base regardless of the food that is consumed and helps regulate bloodsugars. Learn more in our guide to manage T2D.MORE
Take Insulin? 4 Things You Need to Know Before Your Next Low Blood SugarFor everyone who doses insulin, low blood sugar (also called hypoglycemia) is the most immediate and severe possible side effect. MORE
The Type 2 Diabetes Guide to Bolus InsulinBolus insulin can help prevent glucose spikes after meals or correct for high blood sugar. Learn more in our guide to manage T2D.MORE
Ask a DCES: Why Should I Change My Insulin Injection Sites?Why should you change your insulin injection sites? Get your answer in our new Ask a DCES column! MORE
How Insulin WorksInsulin is a hormone that helps regulate your glucose levels. But it has other functions to help maintain your health. Read how insulin works. MORE
Do I Need Insulin?Did you know that the amount of insulin produced by your pancreas is limited? When should you begin using insulin as part of your treatment? Find some good advice and orientation here. MORE
Insulin Pumps for Type 2 DiabetesDid you know people with T2D can use insulin pumps? Insulin pumps can ease the burden of diabetes self-care. Read about how they can benefit you here.MORE
Making the Switch: From Oral Medications to InsulinPeople with Type 2 diabetes have a choice in the treatment of their condition, and truly understanding available treatment options is extremely pertinent.MORE
MDI vs Insulin Pumps in Type 2 DiabetesPeople with Type 2 diabetes have a choice in the treatment of their condition, and understanding any and all options is a vital first step in proper diabetes management.MORE
The Type 2 Guide to InsulinUnderstanding the body's relationship with insulin is a crucial part of diabetes education.MORE
How to Give an Insulin InjectionWe all grew up with some dread about those occasional visits to the doctor — and usually, it was that fear of getting a shot. Now that you’re the one commissioned to give the shot, we know you may...MORE
Additional Resources and Patient Stories
Former Chef with Type 2 Diabetes Proves Great Food Can Be Healthy & TastyFormer Chef, Carlos Gonzalez, learned how to make healthy food choices without sacrificing flavor after he was diagnosed with T2D. MORE
I Accidentally Took 18 Units of the Wrong InsulinJean Flunker shares how she accidentally took the wrong insulin and her thoughts on insulin stigma in Type 2 diabetes. MORE
A Game Plan to Remember to Take InsulinVickie Nell shares her story, the impact of missing insulin dosages, and how she remembers to take insulin. MORE
After Years of Denial, This Man Manages His Diabetes with InsulinWhen Arvind Ramaswamy was diagnosed with MODY 1 diabetes— a rare and genetic form of diabetes that differs from both Type 1 or Type 2—at 25 years old in 1995, he was convinced the doctors had made...MORE
“My doctor refused to put me on insulin for Type 2 diabetes, so I got a new doctor.”Before Kate Cornell was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2005 at 50 years old, she had no idea anything was wrong. Today, she uses both metformin and insulin to manage her blood sugars.MORE
“I stopped taking insulin in January 2021,” says Prince BlueWith an A1c of 17.6 percent at his diagnosis, Prince looks back and realizes he should’ve started insulin right away. But today, he’s no longer taking insulin and thriving.MORE
From Syringes to Insulin Pens: Making T2D Life EasierKatie Saucedo shares her T2D story, switching from syringes to pens, and discusses T2D stigma and insulin. MORE
A New Way to Deliver the Insulin I NeedLuis Doriocourt shares his experiences switching insulin delivery methods - from syringes and vials to insulin pens to manage T2D. MORE
Emergency Glucagon: Everything You Need to KnowGlucagon is a life-saving hormone that anyone with diabetes taking insulin should have on-hand!MORE
Being My Own T2D Success Story with OmnipodPrince Blue joins Beyond Type 2 to discuss updates to his journey with Type 2 diabetes, including finding weight loss success with Omnipod. MORE
Insulin Stigma in the T2D CommunityInsulin stigma in the T2D community is real and negatively impacts diabetes self-care and management. Read how it hurts people with T2D. MORE
Pump Access and Type 2 DiabetesA person with Type 2 diabetes may eventually require insulin to manage glucose levels. Wearing an insulin pump can make that transition easier and simplify living with diabetes. Learn about pump acces...MORE
Trusting Myself with InsulinFormer pro wrestler, Dan Denton, shares when he first started taking insulin and how he's learned to trust himself with it to manage T2D.MORE
No Shame in Using InsulinInsulin stigma in T2D care is real and cause people with Type 2 to feel like they're failing at managing it. Joseph Martin shares why that doesn't have to be the case. MORE
What to Know About the 2021 Standards of Care for T2DIt's important to know which guidelines doctors follow to develop your treatment plans. Here's what to know about the 2021 Standards of Care.MORE
When Medications are Prescribed for T2D ManagementDoctors follow a set of protocols to determine when to recommend medications to T2D patients. Learn when they're likely to prescribe them.MORE
10 Misconceptions about Type 2 DiabetesThere are many things people get wrong about Type 2 diabetes. Here are 10 misconceptions about diabetes. MORE
The Impact of Insulin Rationing on Mental HealthInsulin rationing is an unfortunate reality for people with diabetes and the burden on mental health is something people with diabetes shouldn't have to bear. MORE
Hypoglycemia Awareness and Type 2 DiabetesHigh blood sugar isn't the only thing people with diabetes need to watch out for, but low blood sugar, too. Boost your awareness about hypoglycemia here!MORE
Research Shows Fridges Might Be Destroying InsulinA 16-month study has shown that 79% of insulin is kept at temperatures outside of the recommended range. Insulin stored in the fridge is at a much higher risk. MORE
Educational content related to insulin use and insulin logging methods for Type 2 diabetes is made possible with support from Lilly Diabetes.