What are the Benefits?
Insulin Pump Therapy provides an effective means of achieving near-normoglycaemia in people with diabetes. As an intensive treatment option it offers a number of advantages over conventional Insulin Therapy.
Natural Supply of Insulin
An insulin pump provides a continuous supply of insulin throughout the day and night (basal insulin) and extra boosts are given before eating (bolus insulin). The basal insulin takes care of your background insulin needs and the bolus insulin is tailored to your food intake. So, the insulin pump will give you the most natural method of insulin delivery.
Reliable Supply of Insulin
The basal insulin is supplied as a very small amount every few minutes and only short acting insulin is used with a pump. This means that there are no problems with variable absorption of insulin and those unpredictable swings in blood glucose levels can be avoided.
Insulin Supply tailored to your needs
The amount of background insulin – the basal rate – can be set at different levels through the day and night, according to your own needs. This means that you can have the pump automatically deliver more background insulin when you need it – in the early hours of the morning, for example – just as the body would naturally provide it. Using an insulin pump can ensure stable blood glucose levels through the night, coping with the dawn effect, but without increasing the risk of nighttime hypos.
Eat what you want, when you want
The continuous trickle of basal insulin also takes care of your daytime needs when you are not eating. At mealtimes, or if you fancy a snack, you set the pump to deliver extra insulin. The amount of insulin – the bolus dose – can be tailored exactly to what you eat and how much of it. When you choose to eat is up to you.
Sleep in at Weekends
The basal insulin continuously supplied by the pump will keep blood glucose levels steady throughout the night and into the day without any input from you. This means that you can sleep in and not have to worry about blood glucose levels rising. You can eat breakfast when, or if, you choose to.
The basal rate can be altered temporarily at any time. So, if you suddenly decide to go for a jog, or you are unexpectedly invited to play a game of tennis, you can simply decrease the basal rate whilst you exercise. This means that you no longer need to plan exercise in advance or eat large amounts of carbohydrate beforehand in order to avoid hypoglycaemia.
Adapt your Insulin to your Changing Needs
In addition, using an insulin pump can help you to cope more effectively with increased blood glucose levels that frequently accompany periods of stress or illness. Travelling, too, is made a whole lot easier, especially on long haul journeys and when you need to adapt to new time zones.
Tight Control without more Hypos
With a pump, you can tailor your insulin supply to fit your exact needs. In this way it is possible to achieve tight control of blood glucose levels without having to increase the risk of hypos.
No Need for Multiple Injections
The pump is worn all the time and all the insulin is delivered through a fine plastic tube (known as the infusion set), which is inserted under the skin (usually in the abdomen). There is no need for any injections, once the infusion set is in place. The infusion set msut be replaced every 2-3 days.
The insulin pump provides the most accurate, precise and flexible system of insulin delivery currently available. Insulin pump therapy gives you the freedom to live life to the full, whilst keeping blood glucose levels stable and well controlled.
Following its discovery in the early 1920s, insulin was hailed as a miracle cure for people with diabetes. It certainly made the difference between life and death at the time.
In recent years, however, we have realised that it is more than a question of survival – in order to prevent the long-term complications of diabetes, blood glucose levels need to be tightly controlled. Despite many improvements, injecting insulin still presents a number of problems:-