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For some persons with diabetes, routine self-injection is difficult or impractical, either due to lifestyle or severity of their disease. Good glucose control is one of the key factors in reducing the risk for complications.
By using a diabetes insulin pump, you can match your insulin to your lifestyle, rather than injecting insulin and making changes in your life to match the injection.
Insulin pumps provide both a consistent rate of insulin infusion - called a basal rate - and bolus doses, which you self-administer by pressing a button. The boluses are programmed for a set dose of insulin, so that you can press the button to cover your carbs at mealtimes and manage periods of high blood sugars.
The pump is aobut the size of a deck of cards. It is attached to a very small tubing, connected to a needle inserted in the fatty tissue of your abdomen.
Where do you put it? The pump can be worn in a small carrying case clipped to your waist band or belt, on a band around your arm, or even in a pocket or fanny pack. They are water-resistant, but not waterproof so you shouldn't take them swimming or in the shower with you, however you can disconnect them for short periods to allow you to swim and bathe.
For many people, the insulin pump provides freedom from frequent injections of insulin, which can be both painful and inconvenient, and the benefits include:
* more stable blood glucose levels
* lower A1C values (test to check your
overall blood sugar control)
* flexibility in eating (you can bolus
when you eat)
* freedom from repeated injections
But, they are not perfect, either. The downside to using insulin pumps include:
* Expense - they are not cheap and
your insurance may not cover it
* It can be annoying to be connected to
a device day in and day out
* Risk for ketoacidosis if your pump is
off for too long, or becomes
* May need a hospital stay to be
trained on how to use it
* Can contribute to weight gain
Only you and your doctor can decide if the insulin pump is for you. There are several models to choose from, with varying features, to match your lifestyle.
Talk to your doctor or diabetic educator about the insulin pump and the risks and benefits for you.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|