Insulin Pumps – Get Better Control, Get Your Life Back!
In recent years an alternative to manual insulin injections has emerged. Enter the Insulin Pump. The first Insulin Pumps were quite bulky, but modern ones are about the size of a small Cellphone or Pager. The pump is worn unobtrusively on a belt or in a pocket and it delivers insulin through a thin plastic tube (or Infusion Set) that is inserted under the skin.
WHY AN INSULIN PUMP IS BETTER
In a healthy person, the pancreas produces insulin constantly at low levels, keeping blood glucose levels stable. When a meal is eaten, the pancreas will send larger amounts of insulin into the blood stream to handle the food. Using a standard injection regime, slow and fast acting insulin is used to try and mimic the pancreas. An insulin pump much more closely copies the pancreas. The pump delivers a low level of background insulin (called basal) and at meal times can deliver a “bolus” dose at the touch of a button, to cover the food.
Just like a real pancreas, if you are ill, or exercising, the basal insulin rate can be reduced. If you skip a meal, the bolus is not delivered. In this way, the pump fits into your lifestyle, rather than planning your life around your injection schedule!
CHOOSING AN INSULIN PUMP
Most insulin pumps on the market today have all the basic features. Choosing one is much like chosing a Cellphone, it is a mixture of personal taste and what you plan on using it for. If you are a water sports fan, waterproof ones area available! If you love analysing data to improve your control, you can get one with PC download capability and analysis software. If you are new to the world of Insulin Pumps, here are some key points to think about
- Choose a pump that allows you to set up different basal levels. For instance at night time, if you are sick or exercising. This is an important feature to help you live a full life.
- Pumps that use a standard “Luer Lock” infusion sets are better. This means cheaper consumables.
- Alerts to remind you to check your blood glucose level make life easier.
- Check what batteries it takes, standard AA or AAAs are cheaper and easier to buy.
- More advanced pumps include a carbohydrate calculator to help you figure out what your meal Bolus dose should be.
- Coming to the market are integrated Insulin Pump/Glucose meters. The meters readings are automatically transferred to the pump which can use them to recommend an insulin dose.
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