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Taipei City Hospital

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Dose the Use of Insulin Indicate a Serious Diabetic Condition?

       The classic symptoms of diabetes are frequent eating, drinking, urination and reduced body weight, says Dr. Kuo Ya-wen, attending physician of the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism at the Taipei City Hospital’s Zhongxing Branch. The typical symptoms are: increased urination, thirst and hunger; and weight loss. The standards of diabetes diagnosis are fasting blood glucose level ≥126 mg/dL, blood glucose level in 2nd hour of Oral Glucose Tolerance Test ≥200 mg/dL, HbA1c ≥ 6.5% and symptoms of hyperglycemia (including polyuria, polydipsia and weight loss), as well as random blood glucose level test ≥200 mg/dL. Re-confirmation of the first 3 tests are recommended for values that fall within the range of diagnostic standards.

       Patients under dialysis often require insulin interventions due to their impaired renal functions affecting drug metabolism, and the frequent side effects, such as lowered blood sugar levels, result in fewer choices of oral hypoglycemic drugs. The legacy effects of diabetes treatment indicates that early control of blood sugar will decrease the chance of complications in the future. Insulin allows patients to rapidly control their blood sugar during the onset of diabetes. Research has also shown that early use of insulin treatments can reduce the burden upon the pancreatic islet cells and delay the process of cellular degeneration; initial short-term use of insulin can be substituted for oral hypoglycemia drugs or no drug treatment at all. Thus, the use of insulin is not permanent for all diabetes patients.