When my mother came home from the nursing home, they said she did not need insulin any longer. Is this possible?

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My mother was diagnosed with diabetes three months ago. She is 81 years old. When she came home from the nursing home, she told us that they said she did not need the insulin any longer. Is this possible? Can someone just stop taking insulin so suddenly?

Q: My mother was diagnosed with diabetes three months ago. She is 81 years old. When she came home from the nursing home, she told us that they said she did not need the insulin any longer. Is this possible? Can someone just stop taking insulin so suddenly?

Insulin is often used in hospital and nursing home settings, in accordance with American Diabetes Association guidelines stating that it as the preferred method for achieving and maintaining blood sugar control during hospitalization. Often, this is a temporary measure to help keep blood sugar levels within target range during illness, injury, or when recovering from surgery (especially for someone who’s on oral diabetes medications at home). It's likely that your mother's blood sugar levels improved as she healed, to the point where she no longer requires insulin to maintain acceptable blood sugar levels (but may take another medication). Discontinuing insulin in cases like this is the right course of action. In fact, taking insulin when it is no longer necessary can lead to hypoglycemia, or abnormally low blood sugar, which can be extremely dangerous.

Answered By dLife Expert: Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE

Certified diabetes educator and registered dietitian living in Southern California.

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