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How To Insulin Pumps Work

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How Do Insulin Pumps Work?

Is it true that a pump could just do all of my insulin injections for me, so I would not have to do the math and injections myself anymore? Insulin pumps are an excellent new technology that is getting better and better in recent years. It is used pretty much exclusively in the management of type 1 diabetes (childhood onset). The advantages of the insulin pump is that it delivers continuous small amounts of insulin, which results in better, tighter control of the blood sugar levels. The insulin pump is not suited for type 2 diabetes (adult onset). So if you have adult onset diabetes and are taking either insulin or a mixture of insulin and medications, you will have to continue with that regimen. In the setting of type 1 diabetes, the insulin pump is quite effective. However, as it involves very tight control of blood sugar levels, the amount of work that goes into maintaining the pump is actually quite significant. Blood sugars with finger pricks need to be checked much more frequently and adjustments need to be made with snacks, meals, and the like. Although the main advantage of the insulin pump is that it produces better sugar control, the main disadvantage is that it is work i Continue reading >>

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  1. Jill

    How does an insulin pump work?

    This is my own explanation, in layman's terms how a pump basically works. Feel free to add to my explanation.
    My pump is filled with Apidra which is a newer rapid acting insulin like Novolog, Humalog or Novorapid. It is programmed (by me) to cover my basal needs (like what Lantus and Levemir do) but I can program it to give me different basal amounts at different times of the day. So, here is how it works, I have a very small tube (a cannula) in my tummy that is connected to a tube and then to my pump. My basal rate from 12:00 am to 2:59 am is .8 units per hour. That means that every hour from midnight until 2:59 am my pump slowly eeks out .8 units of insulin to keep my sugar level. at 3:00 am my basal rate changes to .85 unit per hour b/c my sugar tends to rise starting at this time. So from 3:00 am until 10:00 am I slowly get .85 units of insulin each hour. Then at 10:00 I have another rate set...you get it.
    Ok, so for meals, I carb count and bolus my insulin myself. So, say I'm eating a turkey sandwich and some chips. My doctor and I have worked out an insulin to carbohydrate ratio for me. My ratio is for every 10 grams of carbohydrate I eat I take 1 unit of insulin. So my turkey sandwich has 10 grams of carbs (I got this awesome new low carb bread) and I'm eating 25 grams of carbs worth of chips (you just read the labels on serving size and how many grams of carbs). My total carb for the meal would be 35 grams of carbs. That means I would need 3.5 units of insulin to cover my meal. I just dial up 3.5 units on my pump, push ACT and it delivers it to me. It also has a feature where, I test my sugar, I have my goal programmed into my pump (my goal is 90 mg/dl, that's 5 uk) if my sugar is higher than my goal then I also have my correction factors figured into my pump and the pump will tell me how much insulin I need to take to bring my sugar back to my goal and then I can put in the carbs I'm eating and it will tell me how much to take for the meal PLUS the correction factor. I change the cannula and fill my insulin reservoir every 3 to 4 days. I would like to end by saying pumping is the best decision I ever made.

  2. Lois

    I think you have said it all, but would note that everyone is different and it will take time to adjust basal/bolus amounts.
    Having been on the pump for almost 4 years, I would say that this is the best control that I have had. No problems with changing infusion sets or keeping up with the changes in my basal/bolus rates. As Jill said, this is the best decision I have ever made.

  3. tralea

    You said it pretty good Jill!!

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