Diabetes Medications: Will I need insulin?
Now that you have been diagnosed with diabetes you are probably wondering if you are going to need daily shots of insulin. This will depend on a number of factors including the amount of fats and carbs (sugar) in your diet, your level of physical activity, any acute or chronic stressors or illnesses you may have and what type of diabetes that you have been diagnosed with.
If you are diagnosed with Diabetes Mellitus Type I, also known as Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (IDDM), the pancreas produces little to no insulin. Type I diabetics may need to check their blood glucose level several times a day and give themselves insulin injections prior to each meal. They will also need to use diet and exercise to help control blood glucose levels. Oral medications are not effective when treating Type I Diabetes Mellitus. Diabetes Mellitus Type II is also known as Non-Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (NIDDM) or adult onset diabetes. 90% of people with diabetes fall into this category. With Type II diabetes the pancreas produces normal to high normal levels of insulin, but the body is not able to use it correctly.
These patients are usually managed with diet, exercise and oral medications, a small number of Type II diabetics may need insulin. Both Type I and Type II diabetics may need to add or increase insulin use when they are exposed to stress. Stress causes a reaction in the central nervous system called the fight or flight response. This response causes a release of hormones in order to make energy available, in case we need to react quickly. The end result for diabetics is too much glucose in the blood stream, or hyperglycemia. Hyperglycemia can have a rapid onset and can be life-threatening if not treated with insulin.
Illness is a major source of stress for diabetics and can be both a physical stress and a mental stress. Stress can be either short or long-term but both produce the same effects within the body. Long-term or continuous stressors (like having 3 teenage girls or having to drive to work and back every day in heavy traffic) are the most damaging to the other organs and systems within the body.