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Starting your insulin journey: discussing your hesitations with your doctor

Many people with type 2 diabetes will eventually need and benefit from taking insulin to help manage their blood sugar.1 To help manage your condition, your doctor may have talked to you about this.  This can be a big decision, but your doctor is there to support you.

The thought of starting on insulin can be overwhelming and many people have hesitations.2,3,4 If your doctor has recommended you need insulin to manage your type 2 diabetes, you might like to ask them the following questions during your next appointment. This can help you understand why the time is right to start insulin, and address any concerns or hesitations you have.

You don’t have to memorise all the questions. Why not read through this guide and take notes that you can bring with you to your next consultation.

1. To learn more about insulin

Your doctor can help you better understand the role insulin can play in managing your diabetes, so you can make more informed decisions about your health.

  • How does insulin therapy help to manage my diabetes?
  • What types of insulin are out there?
  • What are the benefits I may expect to see after starting insulin?
  • How can insulin give me better control of my health?

2. To find out more about how to inject insulin

Having your healthcare team demonstrate each step of the insulin injection process can help relieve any anxiety, fear or confusion you may have about how to inject insulin.5

  • Where and how do I inject insulin?
  • How do I inject insulin despite being afraid of needles?
  • Does injecting insulin hurt? How can I make injecting insulin more comfortable?
  • What type of insulin and how much insulin do I need to inject?
  • What types of needles are used to inject insulin?
  • What is the difference between an insulin pen, cartridge and a pump?

3. To discuss concerns about insulin

It’s common to have questions and concerns about insulin, whether it’s due to fear of side effects, pain or needles.5,6 Your doctor can give advice on ways to manage these.

  • What are some of the side effects associated with insulin therapy?
  • Can insulin increase the risk of hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar)?
  • What are the symptoms of hypoglycaemia?
  • What do I do if I experience hypoglycaemia?
  • How do I manage weight changes after starting insulin therapy?

4. To see how insulin can fit within your lifestyle

Taking insulin can fit into your busy lifestyle and your doctor can help you figure out how.

  • Will insulin interfere with my work and social life?
  • How often would I have to inject insulin?
  • How do I carry and store insulin as I go about my daily life or as I travel?
  • How do I keep track of when and how much insulin I need to inject?

Interested in learning about other people’s journey? Watch the video below where Ian, Chen, Eva and Jose share their personal experiences with managing type 2 diabetes with insulin. 


1. American Diabetes Association Professional Practice Committee; 9. Pharmacologic Approaches to Glycemic Treatment: Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes—2022. Diabetes Care. 2022;45(Supplement_1):S125–S143.

2. Polonsky WH, Fisher L, Guzman S, Villa-Caballero L, Edelman SV. Psychological insulin resistance in patients with type 2 diabetes: the scope of the problem. Diabetes Care. 2005 Oct;28(10):2543–2545.

3. Ellis K, Mulnier H, Forbes A. Perceptions of insulin use in type 2 diabetes in primary care: a thematic synthesis. BMC Fam Pract. 2018;19:70.

4. Chen P, Ma X, Chen H, et al. Delays in Insulin Initiation among Patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in Southeast China: A Retrospective, Real-World Study. Diabetes Metab Syndr Obes. 2020;13:3059–3068.

5. Martha M. Funnell; Overcoming Barriers to the Initiation of Insulin Therapy. Clin Diabetes 2007;25(1):36–38.

6. Peyrot M, Rubin RR, Kruger DF, Travis LB. Correlates of insulin injection omission. Diabetes Care. 2010;33(2):240–245.

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