How Will Insulin Help Lower A1C?

Q: My doctor wants to put me on insulin. I have type 2 diabetes; my A1C was 8.2. I don't want to take shots. How will insulin help?

A: An A1C of 8-9 percent equates to an average estimated glucose level of 183-212 mg/dl. Long-term glucose levels in this range drastically increase the odds of developing a complication such as kidney failure, vision loss, or damage to blood vessels or nerves that can lead to heart disease, stroke, and neuropathy.

As type 2 diabetes progresses, the pancreas makes less and less insulin. Many oral medications can help control your glucose levels early on. But once insulin production declines to a certain point, insulin is necessary.

Today's insulin needles are super thin. You may find injections hurt less than blood glucose testing: The place you inject (abdomen, preferably) has far fewer nerve endings than the fingertip.

Keep an open mind about insulin as your diabetes therapy. Set up a one-on-one session with a diabetes educator who can coach you through that first injection and teach you how to best time your doses.

Virginia Zamudio Lange is an R.N., M.S.N, and CDE.