Tuesday, May 3, 2011

No cure

I recently read a blog that describes how insulin is not a cure so well that I think everyone should read it.

Reyna from Beta Buddies writes:

As my "network" of "D" friends expands, I am increasingly aware of type 1 deaths, diagnoses, and hospital admissions from low induced seizures and loss of consciousness. With each incident, I mutter sadly, quietly, and angrily, and pissed-offly in my head "yet one more reason why Insulin is not a CURE."

I practically spit it, the statement.

I do.

Type 1 Diabetes is difficult, at best, to manage. It does not lend itself to being "controlled". It can kill. The medication used to treat type 1 Diabetes is insulin.

Insulin is a hormone.

Insulin can be deadly if too large of a dose is given. Insulin can cause seizures, coma, and even death. Insulin is the only treatment for type 1 diabetes. Without insulin, persons with type 1 diabetes die.

Diabetes affects EVERY organ system in a persons body. These people look totally "normal" from the outside, while this disease wreaks havoc on their vasculature and organs. Insulin is needed, not only as life support, but to temper the effects of high blood sugars on tissues, vessels, and organs.

Insulin is not a cure. It never will be.

It cannot be taken orally.

The acidity of the stomach destroys the proteins that "make-up" insulin and, consequently, render it useless. Insulin must be injected with a needle. It is give subcutaneously several times daily. It is give with food. It is given with high blood sugars. It is given as "basal", a maintenance dose so-to-speak. This, my friends, is no CURE.

Insulin must be administered to keep persons with type 1 diabetes alive. Without it, they would die. Prior to 1921, the year exogenous insulin was produced/discovered, a person with type 1 diabetes would die a death of "starvation," as their cells would be unable to utilize glucose as an energy source. The death was described as painful and agonizing and miserable between the unquenched thirst, the continual flow of urine, and the insatiable hunger ... to no end... well, there would be an end ... The End. "Life Support", it is. Again, A CURE, it is not.

Dosing is not simple. It is complicated.

It is not a medication where you can just "dose it" and "forget it". You administer it, you check on the effectiveness of that dose a couple of hours later by checking a blood sugar level. Needle after needle after needle is the life of a type 1 diabetic... around the clock ... hour to hour. Insulin is not a CURE.

The balance required in dosing insulin is tenuous.

If you give too much it can induce a low blood sugar reaction called "hypoglycemia" or an "insulin reaction". A low blood sugar is an immediate emergency and must be dealt with promptly. It can occur at any time. A low blood sugar can lead to seizures, coma, and/or death.


If you don't receive enough insulin over the course of several hours you can end up in Diabetic Ketoacidosis; this is a life threatening condition that requires medical attention immediately.


Finally there are the reasons we all do that we do. The reasons, and the list is long, as to why we attempt to keep "tight" control of blood sugars... the long term effects of diabetes... the "complications". High blood sugar levels affect blood vessels, organs, and nerves throughout the body. Retinopathy, neuropathy, nephropathy, and all the fucking "opathies" along with cardiac disease, peripheral vascular disease, and dislipidemias...and on and on ... are but a few of the consequences of diabetes. A CURE? Definitely not. Period.

Too much Insulin.... you fall victim to a low. Too little ... you are stuck chasing down a high. Not a CURE.

Activity, monthly cycles, stress levels, environmental temperatures, illnesses, and growth spurts must all be accounted for when administering insulin. Blood sugars are affected by all of these factors and by oh, oh ... so much more. Insulin is far from a CURE.

Insulin is not a CURE.

A CURE it is not.

A day-in-the-life of gratitude for Insulin .... yet hoping for a less laborious treatment regimen for type 1 diabetes. A CURE, this is not.

Diabetes needs a cure and not enough people are rallying for one. Sure, we see things occasionally saying walk for JDRF or ADA, but those are usually overshadowed with pleas for money to cure AIDS and cure cancer. If you know me, you know I'm not against any type of cure. I especially would like one for childhood cancers. BUT(!) as many as 3 million people in the US have Type 1 Diabetes (like I have) and about 80 people (mostly children) a day are being diagnosed. Type 1 is NOT caused by eating "too much sugar". It is not caused by "being too inactive". We are constantly living with the fear of death and, if not death, major complications. We will not "get over it" if we eat certain diets or drink certain waters or do certain exercises. Insulin helps keep all of us alive, but it can also kill us.

So, please, help encourage a cure for diabetes (especially Type 1 aka Juvenile diabetes). When you are considering charities to support, please don't forget about JDRF or ADA. You would be improving and saving lives.

/end PSA


  1. That was a great post. Knowledge is the key to getting support. I didn't know most of that info. I agree with you, that was wonderful!

  2. I'm so lucky to have married the Timmy. He helps me live, not only as a diabetic, but as a normal person might as well. Well, as normal a person as I can be. ;)

  3. Thank you for sharing Beth. And you are so right, we don't have enough people rallying for one, a CURE. As long as we keep educating and advocating we are hopefully encouraging others to get involved and to care about our cause with our stories of our "day-in-the-life."