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How Do Insulin Pumps Work

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Insulin Pumps

Thinking about getting an insulin pump to manage your Type 1 diabetes? As an alternative to injecting insulin with a pen, an insulin pump can help improve your diabetes control and give you more flexibility. What does an insulin pump do? An insulin pump is a battery-operated device that provides your body with regular insulin throughout the day. The insulin is provided via a tiny, flexible tube (cannula), inserted under the skin. The tube can be left in for two to three days before it needs to be replaced and moved to a different insulin injection site. When eating, you can release extra insulin using the pump. This is known as a 'bolus dose'. Your nurse and dietitian will help you to work out how much insulin you need. How can I get an insulin pump? The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) haspublished criteria for suitability to use an insulin pump. Talk to your diabetes healthcare team about whether a pump is suitable for you. You're entitled to NHS-funded insulin pump therapy if you meet the following requirements: Your diabetes consultant recommends that you use an insulin pump. You'll need to show that you're committed to good diabetes control; for example 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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