There are different ways and devices for diabetes management, an insulin pump is one of them. An insulin pump is a small portable/wearable device that can help you manage your sugar levels especially if you are a type-1 diabetic. It delivers continuous and customised doses of rapid-acting insulin that is similar to the physiological one and mimics pancreatic insulin secretion. This delivery is provided 24 hours a day, minute by minute to match your body’s needs, as told by Dr. Dilip Gude, Senior Consultant Physician, Yashoda hospitals Hyderabad. If you are advised to use an insulin pump to monitor and manage your diabetes, here are some basics that you need to understand before investing in an insulin pump.
Types of insulin pump
There are two ways of insulin delivery by the pump. One is basal insulin delivery that is slow, constant delivery throughout the day. And the second is bolus delivery that matches the post meal spike of sugars three or four times a day. It is important to know your needs before purchasing them. You can speak to your doctor to know the right type for you.
These days, pumps have built in CGM (continuous glucose monitoring), which sends data to the pump. It delivers insulin based on sugar spikes in the body. This system is of great help for people who rely on insulin pumps for diabetes management. Getting the advanced pump would make glucose monitoring and diabetes management easier.
The newer varieties of insulin pump are hassle free and less cumbersome and the risk of hypoglycemia is near zero. Since CGM gives continuous data to the pump, when sugar levels become low, the insulin secretion stops and an alarm is sent to the mobile device via bluetooth.
Insulin pump for type-2 diabetes
While most users of insulin pumps are type-1 diabetics, who have had diabetes since childhood, doctors suggest that people with type-2 diabetes can use it too. Dr. Gude suggests that in some type-2 diabetic patients, who have had a progressive disease with near absent insulin secretion, the pump can be of great help. They can use the pump to manage their condition better.
Parts of insulin pump
Typically apart from the pump, there is a reservoir that holds up to 300 units of insulin, infusion set, CGM, and smartphone app. Insulin pumps are known to minimise hyper and hypoglycemia with excellent TIR (time in range of 80 to 180mg/dl).
There are indigenous insulin pumps being developed in India that cost 20 times less, i.e., from ₹600,000 to ₹30,000. This revolutionises management of type-1 diabetes and some type-2 diabetes as well.
Are there any risks or limitations of use?
Insulin pumps have lesser risk of complications as these are more precise and inject accurate doses of insulin in the body. People who struggle in calculating doses shall benefit the most. However, these pumps may be discomforting for some people. This includes hiding the pump, higher cost as compared to injections, chances of disconnection, incorrect setup causing inaccuracy, etc. This can get life-threatening. Thus it is very important to understand all aspects of using before buying an insulin pump.
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