Diabetes Insulin Pumps

Diabetes Insulin pumps can greatly improve the quality of life for those with diabetes. An insulin pump provides insulin through a subcutaneous insulin infusion device. The pump has a reservoir for insulin (shown in the photo) and a disposable infusion set. There is tubing that connects to the insulin reservoir and the cannula that is subcutaneously inserted.

The purpose of the insulin pump is to replace the need for everyday insulin injections. Some diabetics have to inject themselves a couple of times everyday to keep their insulin levels steady. The insulin pump coupled with blood glucose monitoring and carbohydrate monitoring can work well for Diabetics when it comes to maintaining good health.

Benefits

The advantages of using an insulin pump are vast. First of all, because insulin is delivered on a regular basis, you will not have to following the regimented meal plan that Diabetics in the past have had to follow.

Insulin pumps are better than basal insulin injections because they deliver insulin at a very steady rate opposed to the basal injections that deliver sporadic insulin dosages.

Insulin pumps allow users to eliminate invasive injections. Many people do not want to have to perform injections when they are in public. Getting insulin from a pump is more discreet and it does not require you to stop whatever you are doing.

It is also very difficult to control how much insulin is in a syringe. Hemoglobin A1c levels are easier to monitor with a pump and the cost of Diabetes management is reduced.

There are smart insulin pumps that can be calibrated to fit the number of carbohydrates you expect to have in a day. The pump will figure out how much bolus insulin is needed to make up the difference. Most pumps can now be hooked up to personal computers for managing and documenting pump programming and/or uploading data from the pump.

Drawbacks

There are some disadvantages of using insulin pumps. Although you will experience an overall savings with an insulin pump, you will initially find yourself spending more money. The equipment needed for the pump, cartridges and infusion sets will cost more than syringes.

If you use an insulin pump you will need to wear it just about all of the time. If you are playing sports or participating in other events that might damage the pump, arrangements must be made. You won’t be able to go swimming while wearing one, for example.

It is possible for diabetic ketoacidosis to occur is the pump does not deliver enough insulin in the right amount of time, or if the batteries run out. The ketones can build up more quickly than when using needles, since there is no reservoir of insulin in the body to balance out the bllod ph. Part of the pump instructtions is to watch out for the signs of this, but this increased need for monitoring can be another negative deciding factor.

The pump runs on a battery and if the battery is discharged the insulin reservoir can run empty. If the tubing comes loose the pump will continue to pump insulin but the user will not receive, it thus putting the user in danger.

The final disadvantage of using an insulin pump is that if it breaks, you will have to go back to injections. If you know that you will be without the pump for a number of hours there are guidelines that your doctor will give you to follow. Remember that there are serious risks associated with a lack of insulin so careful monitoring of the insulin pump is vital to being successful and safe when using it.

Dosages

Insulin pumps provide a replacement of slow-acting insulin for basal needs with a continuous stream infusion of rapid-acting insulin. One single type of fast-acting insulin is delivered by the insulin pump in two ways. The first way is a bolus dose, pumped in order to cover food eaten or correct a high blood glucose level.

The second is a basal dose which is pumped continuously at an adjustable basal rate to deliver insulin needed in between meals and overnight. The patterns for delivering basal insulin throughout the day can be customized to suit the pump user, for example to raise levels before regularly scheduled exercise times such as morning gym time for an elementary school child.