Many People with Diabetes Can't Afford 'Good' Insulin. What Should They Know About Switching to the Cheaper Stuff?

livescience.com | 8/20/2019 | Laura Geggel
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Josh Wilkerson began taking over-the-counter insulin for his type 1 diabetes when he aged off his stepfather's health insurance policy at age 26. But compared with the insulin Wilkerson had previously taken, the less expensive medication was difficult to use and left more room for error. Within a year, the young man — who was saving money for his upcoming wedding — was dead, according to reporting by The Washington Post.

As the price of insulin surges, heartbreaking stories like Wilkerson's are becoming more common. Some people with diabetes in the U.S. travel to Mexico or Canada, where insulin is sold at a fraction of the U.S. cost. Others ration insulin, a risky move that can lead to a host of medical problems, including mood swings, severe dehydration, increased infection risk, kidney and eye problems, limb amputation and even death.

Cases - People - Wilkerson - Switch - Analogue

In many cases, people like Wilkerson switch from the expensive but easier-to-use "analogue" human insulins to the more-difficult-to-use traditional insulins (we'll explain the difference later) but then struggle to correctly time and partition each dose. Here's why this switch can be so challenging and how medical professionals can help patients do it safely.

More than 100 million adults in the United States have diabetes or prediabetes, according to a 2017 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many people with diabetes need supplemental insulin, a hormone normally made in the pancreas. When people eat a meal, their blood sugar, or glucose, rises. Like a traffic cop, insulin enters the bloodstream, where it signals cells to absorb these sugars, so that the nutrients can then be used for energy.

Insulin - People - Diabetes - Blood - Sugar

If they didn't take insulin, people with diabetes would experience high blood sugar, or hyperglycemia, after eating. "[Insulin's] job is to prevent the rise in sugar after a meal or after stress,"...
(Excerpt) Read more at: livescience.com
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