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Question:

From Indiana, USA:

I have been told by several "non-professionals" that many serious complications from diabetes are actually caused by the use of insulin. Is this true? What side effects are there in using "outside the body" insulin? My son is 13 years old, Type 1 for 6 months. Thanks for the help!

P.S. I'm certainly not considering taking him off of insulin.

Answer:

This is just the kind of thing that non-professionals excel at -- terrifying people with stories that they can't substantiate.

Let's start by saying that insulin is lifesaving and without it patients with Type 1 diabetes would all be dead in a few months.

Like any drug, insulin has its dangers and overdose can obviously cause dangerous hypoglycaemia. There has been concern that patients with diabetes have relatively more insulin in their blood over a 24 hour period than non-diabetics, but there are no direct links that I know of between this and complications. That's not to say that insulin isn't involved, but the relationship is not simple and there's much better evidence that high sugars (i.e., from poor control) cause direct damage.

KJR

Original posting 18 Apr 97

  
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:54
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