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Insulin and type 2 diabetes

Around one in four people with type 2 diabetes take insulin.* If you have type 2 diabetes and are prescribed insulin, it doesn’t mean you have type 1 diabetes. You still have type 2 diabetes but you’ve changed treatment. 

Insulin is used as a treatment for type 2 diabetes because the insulin your body makes either is not working properly, which is called insulin resistance, or in some cases insulin resistance means the pancreas initially produces more and more insulin to help, but over time the pancreas can become worn out and start to produce less insulin. This may mean you need to use it as a treatment.

If you need insulin as a medication it isn’t your fault and it doesn’t mean you haven’t managed your diabetes well. It's simply another medication that can help to keep you as healthy as possible. And insulin may be the most appropriate treatment choice for you.

Insulin helps you manage your blood sugar levels which is really important in reducing your risk of future diabetes complications.

When you may need insulin

When you’re first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you may not need to use insulin straight away unless your blood sugar levels are very high. Insulin can be used as a short-term treatment to help quickly bring down your blood sugar levels. 

But you may also need to start insulin as a treatment if other medications haven’t helped managed your blood sugar levels or are not appropriate for you.

Some people may need to take insulin at specific times in their life when diabetes may be harder to manage, like during pregnancy or a severe illness, or after surgery. 

When you take insulin, it’s still important to keep going to your appointments and manage your condition with healthy lifestyle choices. Staying active and eating a healthy diet will reduce the risk of complications from your diabetes. 

One of the side effects of starting to take insulin for some people can be weight gain. This can be difficult to cope with on top of finding out you have type 2 diabetes or a change to your treatment. We’re here to support you if you want to chat anything through or if you want help with weight loss. Do contact our helpline to talk to one of our trained advisors.  

Source: Study from ScienceDirect website 



Next Review Date
Content last reviewed
29 September 2022
Next review due
29 September 2025
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