Treating the Whole Patient for Optimal Management of Type 2 Diabetes: Considerations for Insulin Therapy

Carlos Campos, MD, MPH
August 2007

Abstract: Primary care physicians are responsible for providing healthcare to most patients with type 2 diabetes. In this role, it is critical that physicians utilize a whole-patient treatment approach that includes lifestyle modifications and pharmacotherapy aimed to achieve glycemic control, in addition to the management of any comorbid conditions or risk factors for cardiovascular complications of diabetes. Due to the progressive nature of the disease, most patients with type 2 diabetes will eventually require insulin to achieve and maintain glycemic control, because of both increased insulin resistance and diminished secretory capacity of the pancreatic cells. Thus, physicians need to be knowledgeable about and com- fortable with the use of insulin, as well as with educating patients and discussing any potential barriers to insulin therapy. The use of a stepwise approach— beginning with basal insulin therapy and adding prandial insulin if necessary—is simple, effective, and appropriate for use in many patients.