Thinking About Insulin Pump
4 good reasons to consider an insulin pump
Like many questions, to “pump or not to pump” has multiple correct answers. It’s an important tool in diabetes management. If you're thinking about making a switch to an insulin pump, we recommend discussing these points with your diabetes care team.
- Better blood glucose control. For many people, because an insulin pump can more closely mimic the way a healthy pancreas delivers insulin, using a pump tends to improve blood glucose control and reduce episodes of low blood sugar.1 (And if you live day-to-day with diabetes, even small improvements can be worth embracing.) With an insulin pump, insulin dosing is more precisely matched to activity and needs throughout the day, and can be especially helpful if you're ill. However, if you want success with a pump, it will take dedication — checking blood glucose, counting carbohydrates and calculating mealtime insulin doses to maintain the necessary balance.
- More precise mealtime insulin. Many pumps now feature on-board insulin advisors that calculate insulin doses based on current blood glucose, carbs to be eaten and insulin already in your system. This more accurate dosing can also lead to improved blood glucose control.2
- Fewer jabs. This is an important consideration. Many people find that they prefer to insert an infusion set every 2 or 3 days instead of injecting multiple times each day. Today's infusion sets use ultra-fine needles and offer a range of designs to fit virtually anyone, including young children and those with slender, athletic builds.
- Greater freedom. Some people wonder if having a medical device physically connected to their body might seem restrictive. In reality, many people are surprised to find out that the pump gives them a greater sense of freedom and flexibility, as they can eat when they like, slow down insulin delivery when they're more active and sleep through the night without checking blood glucose.
So what's best for you? Ultimately, that's up to you and your diabetes care team. If you think that pumping sounds appealing, talk to your healthcare provider to determine whether you're a good candidate for insulin pump therapy.
1International Diabetes Federation. Debate—insulin pump therapy: a matter of choice? Available at: http://www.idf.org/debate-insulin-pump-therapy-matter-choice. Accessed June 30, 2015
2Ziegler R, Cavan DA, Cranston I, et al. Use of an insulin bolus advisor improves glycemic control in multiple daily insulin injection (MDI) therapy patients with suboptimal glycemic control: first results from the ABACUS trial. Diabetes Care. 2013;36:3613-3619. Available at: https://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/diacare/36/11/3613.full.pdf. Accessed June 30, 2015.
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