Glucose Control Made Simpler: Using an Insulin Pump.
By Jesus Chirino
Diabetes management and glucose control can be a tough, challenging and painful ordeal. If you are a diabetic that must take several insulin shots on a daily basis, you probably know how unpleasant and inconvenient this task can become. Over the past few years, a high tech device called an insulin pump has revolutionized the way diabetics get their insulin. Easier to use, convenient and more effective, many are now using insulin pumps and are keeping their blood glucose levels under control. How exactly does this device work? Is it right for you? What must you know before deciding to give it a try? Let's find out.
What exactly is an Insulin Pump?
An insulin pump is a state of the art, high tech device that is about the size of a beeper. It imitates the pancreas by giving out basal rate of insulin, a continuous delivery of rapid acting insulin all day long. The pump must be programmed to give a bolus dose of insulin (a large dose of insulin) when having a meal to compensate for the carbohydrates being consumed. The device carries a pump reservoir, similar to a syringe, which gets filled with the insulin and goes inside the pump. It delivers the insulin to a thin tube with a needle at the end, called and infusion set. The infusion set is inserted under the skin, usually on or near the abdomen. It only needs to be changed every two or three days.
What are the Benefits of Insulin Pump Therapy?
Insulin Pumps take away the hassles and pain of having to inject insulin several times a day. They are also much more accurate and effective in the delivery of insulin than regular shots. If you are having trouble controlling your blood glucose levels with shots, you should consider using a pump. Consult with your healthcare professional and find out if a pump is right for you.
What Should I Know Before Using a Pump?
First of all, understand that although an insulin pump offers a lot more flexibility and convenience, you must still learn how to program it and decide how much insulin must be delivered. Once you get the hang of it and become experienced with the pump, you will be able to get excellent results.
When using a pump, you must also be willing to check your blood glucose regularly, at least four times a day. You must know how to count carbs and you must remember to bolus before having a meal. You must also record your blood glucose, doses and carbohydrate intake and decide how much insulin to administer based on your glucose monitoring.
Other basic tasks you must learn include:
• Changing the battery
• Filling and putting in the reservoir
• Attaching the infusion set
• Preparing the infusion site
• Inserting the needle
• Becoming familiar with the pump's programming, alarms and memory settings
What Pumps are Available in the Market?
The leading pump manufacturers are Animas, Disetronic, Medtronic Minimed and Cozmo. Every manufacturer offer different features, it is recommended to do a little research before deciding which one to get, and determining which insulin pump offers the features that are right for you. Because insulin pumps are expensive devices, ranging from $4000 to $6000, make sure you find out if your insurance company will cover the costs of the pump and the supplies.
Insulin Pumps are a great tool in the management of diabetes and the control of blood sugar levels. If you are having trouble controlling your blood sugar or you want to avoid the pain and hassles of insulin shots, you definitely should consider finding out if an insulin pump is right for you.
For more information on insulin pumps and diabetes visit www.yourlifewithdiabetes.com
About the Author
Jesus Chirino is webmaster of Your Life with Diabetes, a website dedicated to providing free diabetes information and resources.
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