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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    what advice would you give to a Type-2 diabetic who is transitioning from oral meds to insulin?

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  • 2




    Kate Marsh

    Credentialled Diabetes Educator (CDE), Diabetes Educator, Dietitian

    Kate works with clients with type 1 and gestational diabetes, PCOS, and those following a plant-based (vegetarian or vegan) diet. As a diabetes educator, she … View Profile

    Even if you have been careful with your diet and exercise, the need for insulin is a natural progression of type 2 diabetes.  Many people worry about starting insulin but the good news is that most people find that they feel much better once they start insulin, particularly if their blood glucose levels have been high for a while.  It is likely that you’ll have more energy, your symptoms of high blood glucose levels such as thirst, urinary frequency and tiredness will improve, and you will have more flexibility with your diet. So don’t think that starting insulin as a ‘last resort’.  Instead recognise that it will allow you to lower your blood glucose levels, reduce your risk of complications and in doing so, improve your overall health and wellbeing.

    Before you start insulin it is a good idea to see a diabetes educator who can explain more about insulin, how it works, show you how to give injections and explain how to manage hypos and sick days.  It is also recommended that you see a dietitian to learn more about matching your food intake with your insulin to optimise your blood glucose levels and reduce the risk of highs and lows. Together with your doctor or diabetes specialist, they can help you to make this transition.

  • 1




    Claire Kerslake

    Credentialled Diabetes Educator (CDE), Diabetes Educator

    Claire Kerslake is a Credentialed Diabetes Educator, Registered Nurse and Health Coach based in Deniliquin in country New South Wales.  Claire is the founder of … View Profile

    In addition to Kate's excellent answer, it will be important to stay in touch with your doctor or diabetes educator. The starting dose of your insulin is likely to change depending on your blood glucose levels and this can take a few visits to work out initially. 

    It is also important to get some advice on how often and what times to monitor your blood glucose levels. Once again, this is best done by discussing with your doctor or diabetes educator. It is important that you get a good picture of what your blood glucose levels are doing both before and two hours after meals to make sure that you are on the best insulin for your situation and the right dose for you.

    Another important point is to make sure that you are doing a blood glucose test before driving and that you need to ‘be 5 to drive’ to ensure that your blood glucose level doesn't drop too low when you are driving.  Now is also a good time to make sure that you know the signs and symptoms of a hypo and how to treat a ‘hypo’ if it occurs. 

    I would expect that your doctor will want to do a HBA1C blood test 3 months after starting insulin.

    All the very best

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