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Insulin Pump Therapy

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Updated July 24, 2007

Insulin Pump Therapy
Copyright 2004 A.D.A.M., Inc.

Benefits of Insulin Pumps:

Insulin pumps first came on the medical scene over 20 years ago. In the last decade, they have evolved into an effective way to help people with diabetes achieve more flexibility in their lifestyles while maintaining tighter control of their blood glucose levels. Pumps offer these benefits by administering a basal rate of insulin continuously while allowing boluses of insulin during times when you need it.

Keeping Tight Control:

Insulin pumps were originally used by people with type 1 diabetes to help them achieve near-normal blood glucose levels while decreasing the incidences of hypoglycemia. Keeping tight control of blood sugar levels near-normal is a balancing act, with type 1 diabetes, because of the danger of bringing blood sugar too low, creating a hypoglycemic crisis. The pumps help keep the levels more constant with less fluctuation, and that reduces the risks.

Type 2 And The Pump:

Pumps are also being prescribed for more people with type 2 as well. Sometimes, no matter what a person does, their blood sugar levels remain high, or bounce all over the place. The pump, with it's steady continuous dosing of insulin can help keep blood sugar levels lower and more constant. Keeping blood glucose within a good range is beneficial for both type 1 and type 2, because tighter control means reduced risk of complications.

Flexibility Is Key:

Flexibility is one of the major benefits of the pump. People like the fact that they can live life more on their own terms. They don't have to plan their day around meal plans and injections. It offers more choices regarding what you eat and when you eat it. The pump especially helps kids and adolescents feel like they "fit in" with their classmates.

The Learning Curve:

Your healthcare provider (HCP) can help you decide about a pump. There is a lot to learn. A basal rate will be determined by your HCP based on your individual needs. You'll learn how to figure out bolus doses and when to give them. Preventing ketoacidosis and hypoglycemia, formulas for sports and exercise, how to care for insertion sites and how to use the pump are all things that should be addressed at the start. Always call your HCP if you have any problems or questions regarding your pump.

Quality Of Life:

Most people like the pump and feel that improvement in quality of life far outweighs the time and effort needed to effectively make the switch to the pump. Although many insurances cover some or all of the cost of the pump, some cover more than others. Make sure you know your coverage. Also Medicare has expanded their coverage to include pumps and supplies for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, for people who meet eligibility requirements.

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