eleilani1940

Q:

I’d like to try seeing a naturalist or a holistic doctor because of the side effects of medicines I’ve been on; what do you think of my idea? My doctor wants to put me on insulin instead, and I don't want to take it because all my family members who were on insulin had side effects and now are dead. My morning blood sugar is sometimes high (as high as 217) from something I ate the night before; other times it's 157. My doctor has me on 5 mg of Onglyza.

Patty Bonsignore

A:

It’s common for people to be afraid of taking insulin, particularly if they know of family members who took insulin and had complications from their diabetes. What’s important to realize is that people with diabetes get complications, not from insulin, but rather from untreated high blood glucose levels. The reason your relatives probably developed complications was not because they started insulin, but because they started insulin too late and the complications just happened to coincide with starting insulin. It’s important to realize that insulin is very safe and supplements the insulin that your body makes naturally. There are only two side effects that we worry about with insulin: low blood glucose levels (which can be minimized with careful dosing) and lumpiness at the injection sites (which can be minimized by giving the injections in different areas). If you are sensitive to many of the drugs that are out there, insulin is probably a good alternative. As far as alternative medicines are concerned, some may be effective in some cases, but there is not a lot of scientific proof that they work or are safe, especially if you have had diabetes for a while. Just because something is natural, such as an herbal remedy, does not make it safe.