Skip to content

Diabetes Health Center

Intensive Insulin for Type 2 Diabetes?

Study Shows Early Insulin Therapy May Be Best for Newly Diagnosed
Font Size
A
A
A
By
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

May 23, 2008 -- What if you just found out you have type 2 diabetes? What's the best way to treat it and get it into remission? A new study suggests that intensive insulin therapy may be the way to go.

Researchers in China studied 382 people from 2004 to 2006 who were newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Patients randomly received either insulin shots throughout the day, infusions of insulin via a pump, or diabetes pills to bring down their blood sugar levels. The treatment ended after normal blood sugar levels were established for two weeks. The patients then followed up with just diet and exercise to maintain target blood sugar levels.

Those who received insulin had better results than those who took pills to control the disease. More patients who received insulin reached their target blood glucose levels in a shorter amount of time than the group who took pills.

  • 97% of those who got insulin infusions achieved normal blood sugar levels within four days.
  • 95% of those who had daily insulin injections reached normal blood sugar levels within almost six days.
  • 83.5% of those who took the pills hit their target blood sugar levels within nine days.

Insulin Helps With Remission Rates

After a year, even though all three groups were only using diet and exercise to further control their diabetes, the two insulin groups still had better results when it came to being in remission.

  • 51% of those who received insulin infusions were in remission.
  • 45% of those who got daily insulin injections were in remission.
  • 27% of those who took oral medications were in remission.

Insulin Therapy May Help Cells Recover

Researchers found that the insulin therapy seemed to help the body's insulin-producing cells restore and recover and boost the body's ability to balance out its own insulin production.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common kind of diabetes. In people with type 2 diabetes, the body becomes resistant to insulin or it doesn't make enough insulin. This prevents cells from being able to use glucose, or sugar, as energy.

Previous studies suggest that intensive insulin therapy could change or stave off the progression of type 2 diabetes.

The findings appear in the May 24 issue of The Lancet.

The research was conducted by Jianping Weng and colleagues at the Third Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China.

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

Check Your Blood Sugar Level Now
What type of diabetes do you have?
Your gender:

Get the latest Diabetes newsletter delivered to your inbox!


or
Answer:
Low
0-69
Normal
70-130
High
131+

Your level is currently

If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Did You Know Your Lifestyle Choices
Affect Your Blood Sugar?

Use the Blood Glucose Tracker to monitor
how well you manage your blood sugar over time.

Get Started

This tool is not intended for women who are pregnant.

Start Over

Step:  of 

Today on WebMD

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
 
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
 
Woman serving fast food from window
Video
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Video
 
Middle aged person
Tool
are battery operated toothbrushes really better
Video
 

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Article
type 2 diabetes
Slideshow
 
food fitness planner
Tool
Are You at Risk for Dupuytrens Contracture
Article