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:

How Smartpen Devices Help People with Type 2 Diabetes

Insulin 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 101

Just 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 Cons

Need 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

Trusting Myself with Insulin

Former 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 Insulin

Insulin 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

Insulin & Temperature: Why It’s Really Important

Insulin 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 Meals

Taking insulin before meals? Learn how to calculate how much you need before eating using these easy tips. MORE

New to Basal Insulin? Start Here!

Basal 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 Sugar

For 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 Insulin

Bolus 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 Works

Insulin 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 Diabetes

Did 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 Insulin

People 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 Diabetes

People 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 Insulin

Understanding the body's relationship with insulin is a crucial part of diabetes education.MORE

How to Give an Insulin Injection

We 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

Insulin Delivery Methods

There are quite a few different ways to deliver insulin, each with pros and cons, and it is up to the person with diabetes and his or her doctor to decide what will work best.MORE


Additional Resources and Patient Stories


Emergency Glucagon: Everything You Need to Know

Glucagon is a life-saving hormone that anyone with diabetes taking insulin should have on-hand!MORE

Being My Own T2D Success Story with Omnipod

Prince 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 Community

Insulin 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 Diabetes

A 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

What to Know About the 2021 Standards of Care for T2D

It'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 Management

Doctors 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 Diabetes

There are many things people get wrong about Type 2 diabetes. Here are 10 misconceptions about diabetes. MORE

The Impact of Insulin Rationing on Mental Health

Insulin 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 Diabetes

High 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 Insulin

A 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

Discounts on Insulin

With insulin prices skyrocketing in the US, it’s become challenging for many to afford the life-saving medicine. Prescription Assistance Programs can help though. These programs are intended to ...MORE

Educational content related to insulin use and insulin logging methods for Type 2 diabetes is made possible with support from Lilly Diabetes.