I recently went to visit my Diabetes Nurse for a check-up and a chat. When I moved away from home for University last year, I decided that I'd retain my diabetes care in Nottingham rather than moving it up to Leeds. The main reason for this decision was my Diabetes Nurse. She is, in a word, fabulous. The quality of my relationship with her and her care and knowledge were of far more importance to me than the convenience of having a diabetes team in my city.
Most of all I'd been concerned about gaining weight. I don't have some hang-up about thinking I'm fat or anything when I know I only weigh within the lower 8 stone region, but I'm also only 5ft 2" and even a pound or two extra is noticeable to me at least. I'm not idle - I exercise regularly. I love food, but I don't eat more than I should. So why was I starting to constantly feel like I'd stored a large sack of uncooked potatoes somewhere in my body?
After a few conversations with other diabetics, I started to blame my long-acting Lantus insulin. To those who don't already know, insulin is a hormone. Hormones inevitably have an affect on your body in some way, whether they change your mood, behaviour or something else. Lantus is renowned for increasing a person's weight, much to the disappointment of many diabetics.
My Diabetes Nurse understood my concern. After all most people want to feel that they're in control of their appearance. She said that an alternative insulin called Levemir would probably work better for me.
Levemir is also a long acting, basal insulin. I am able to take pretty much the same dose as I did of Lantus, twice a day. However it is different in three massive ways:
- Levemir is more flexible. If you need a dose adjustment you can do it and it will take affect straight away. Lantus, however, can take up to 3 days before you even start to see a difference.
- Levemir is not as acidic as Lantus, so it doesn't sting when you inject.
- LEVEMIR DOES NOT CAUSE WEIGHT GAIN.
From this information it would seem that overall Levemir is more favourable than Lantus. So why are diabetics even put on Lantus to begin with? Of course I'm sure that lots of diabetics witness no negative side-effects of Lantus. Still, when there are many who do, I don't understand why they should be made to endure weeks/months/years of seemingly unexplainable weight gain and other problems, especially when they could just be put on an arguably better insulin instead!
Sorry that this has been a ranty post - I'm sure there probably is a reason as to why Lantus would seem to work better for some people, but from my own experience it's just a recipe for frustration. Backing good old Lev all the way!