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Diabetes

Does injecting insulin put on weight?

05/21/2008

Question:

can the use of insulin put on weight

Answer:

The short answer is yes.  The longer answer is that you need to look at the total picture of what the problem is that is being treated and figure out what other changes in medications and lifestyle are needed to address the situation of uncontrolled diabetes.  In people with type 1 diabetes who need to go on insulin, they are likely losing weight and may become underweight without insulin.  In people with type 2 diabetes, the situation may either be the same or it may be that the person has high blood sugars but is not losing weight and may be taking in more calories than are needed to maintain a healthy weight; correcting the caloric intake may be necessary to fix the diabetes.  It is a problem that people tend to gain weight over time when on insulin if the insulin is not correctly adjusted and/or caloric intake and physical activity have not been appropriately taken into account and adjusted.  Sometimes it takes quite a bit of work to get it right.

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Response by:

Robert M Cohen, MD Robert M Cohen, MD
Professor of Clinical Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati