Insulin Pump

Insulin Pump Definition

An insulin pump is a tool that is very small. Thanks to its size, it is easy to carry around with you should the need arise. It’s discreet so no one will know you have one. Insulin pump meaning is that you can easily attach it to an accessory or undergarments for transparency. It is used to replace the injection when you need to be given insulin regularly.  You will no longer need the injection and forget the discomfort using an insulin pump. It is used to give diabetics doses of insulin.

Dosing: Bolus and Basal

The basal dose rate is a rate that is programmed and consists of lower levels of insulin.  It is similar to the insulin that is produced by the pancreas that aids the body to work as it should. Your doctor will decide the rate depending on what you need and how severe your condition is. In many cases, it is customized based on how much you need every day and can be adjusted to a higher or lower level as your body needs change.

The bolas dose is the amount of insulin needed when you need it.  The on-demand amount is given to match the diet you have to control the amount of sugar you have in your blood. When you buy an insulin pump, it will come with a calculator to determine your bolus level depending on the settings you enter. Your medical professional will decide on the settings you should use so it will benefit you in the long run. Settings are based on your personal needs.

Bolus Shape and Timing

Bolus Shape Insulin Pump

The pump shape, aka bolus shape can influence the rate of the insulin supply depending on the bolus shape. If you’re not sure which shape is best for you, ask your doctor to recommend one based on your needs and specific circumstances. The shape of it can help you get what you need and control high blood sugar levels.

The Different Bolus Shapes

Standard bolus is for getting doses of insulin when the bolus is first set and this works just as fast as a shot of insulin. This is faster because of the shape of a spike.  This is best for when you have a high intake of carbohydrates and a lower level of protein.  The standard bolus will help return sugar levels in the blood back to normal fast.

Combination bolus or multiwave bolus is a cross between a standard bolus and the extended bolus to give you a higher insulin dosage.  It is ideal to use it when you have a high carbohydrate intake.  If you have just eaten pizza or pasta that has a lot of sauce on it, this is the best method to use to decrease blood sugar levels.

Another type is called the extended bolus which slowly provides insulin doses over a period of time.  It has a square wave design and prevents high dosages of insulin from affecting your body and also prevents low blood sugar.  This bolus shape is good for after you have a high fat meal, typically meat and prevents the increase of blood sugar levels.  It is also good for individuals who digest food at a slower rate.

The super bolus shape adds on to the spike that is seen in the standard version of the bolus and will make the effect of the insulin dosage last much longer, even as long as several hours. You can adjust the amount received to a slower or faster rate, depending on your physical needs.  If you have a bad habit of consuming foods that are high in sugar, like cereal in the morning, then this type is suggested since it can control the effects of a sugar attack and provide insulin quickly

Insulin Pump Bolus Timing

The person using the pump must start the bolus.  This is important to get the proper amount of insulin flowing and for the pump to work as it should to stop hyperglycemia after using it. A pre-bolus is a required step to wipe out carbohydrates from the body that are causing a sugar level issue.

When you need a Pre-bolus and Bolus Timing

If you have consumed foods that can cause an increase of sugar in the blood when the foods are high glycemic, you must do a pre-bolus. Most insulin dosages will begin to work to affect sugar levels in approximately fifteen to twenty minutes after the insulin is infused. Consuming high amounts of sugar means the blood stream will absorb it before the insulin has time to work.  This is the reason by a pre-bolus is important and will prevent a large spike after eating. It is beneficial to get the insulin infusion prior to your meal, at least twenty minutes earlier.

You may need a pre-bolus when the levels of sugar before eating are high.  It is best to use a correction bolus as well as a meal bolus to keep your sugar levels in control.  Timing is of essence to keep blood sugar levels at an acceptable level, especially before another meal.

Insulin Pumps and the Basal Rate Patterns

The amount of insulin you need to infuse can be adjust accordingly any time of day when necessary. It can be customized depending on your basal rate pattern. There are typically four possibilities and they are as follows:

  1. In an adult, you may need to have a higher insulin infusion early in the morning. This also applies to teens.
  2. If you’re an active person who regularly exercises, you may need a pre-bolus to control your sugar levels.
  3. For a diabetic child, mainly toddlers and infants, you will probably need to decrease the infusion rate to avoid low sugar levels.

At night, the basal rate may need to be higher to fight high sugar levels in teenagers.  This is necessary because during puberty, their hormones develop and grow.

Basal Rate Determination for Insulin Pumps

About Basal Rate Determination

Because the basal rate varies depending on the time of day and from oneperson to another, you need to determine how much insulin you need to keep blood sugar levels close to normal. You will need to check your sugar levels after fasting and keep checking it occasionally throughout the day.  During this fast, you’re not permitted to eat anything or drink anything and insulin doses cannot be taken for a minimum of four hours while you are checking your sugar levels. When you have a fluctuation of blood sugar levels, you can adjust your basal rate in either direction accordingly to prevent the fluctuation.

Here is an example.  If you want to know what your basal rate is when you first get up in the morning, check sugar levels before you eat anything.  Then check again occasionally until it’s time for your afternoon meal.  You’ll see changes in sugar levels so you can adjust accordingly.  Keep doing this for a few days fasting for different periods during the day.  Continue this until you have an analysis of a full 24 hour period.  This will build your basal profile. This will help you keep your levels steady. This profile will give you information you need to keep your sugar levels in a comfortable zone. You will also be able to plan your daily life like work, sleep and every meal.

The amount of insulin you need will change due to various factors.  Some of the factors include the change in your body weight loss or weight gain.  A teenager may have a change due to hormonal changes of puberty.  There are also some medications that can cause the amount of needed insulin to increase or decrease.  Sleeping, eating and physical activity can also have an effect on how much you need as well as beta cell death involved in those who have Type 1 diabetes. Even though you can determine the basal rate yourself, it’s best to work with a doctor on this.

Diabetic Temporary Basal Rates

At different times a day for various reasons, the insulin levels can increase or decrease.  This means your dosage must be adjusted to match it.  The reasons for this situation include being seated too long such as traveling in any type of vehicle. Inactivity can cause hypoglycemia so you need to adjust the basal rate according to this.  Another reason is exercise.  Glucose levels may decrease so your basal rate will decrease as well. Stress and other illnesses also cause fluctuations.  Fasting will decrease sugar levels so insulin needs and basal rate will match accordingly.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Pumping Insulin

The Advantages of Insulin Pumping

  1. There are many benefits of using insulin pumps. Many people who have or still use insulin pumps say that their quality of life has improved compared to other methods of getting insulin.  This is typical in people who have Type 2 diabetes.
  2. Using an insulin pump that can be adjusted based on basal rates eliminates having to change your meal plan and other aspects that need to be changed to keep your sugar levels at proper levels.
  3. Pumping insulin is a method that is not easily seen or recognized so you can discreetly use it without anyone knowing. It can easy be hidden away under your clothing.
  4. An insulin pump can be setup with different basal rates for different amounts when you need them. It will infuse based on your programmed schedules so you can control your sugar levels around the clock even when asleep.
  5. The insulin dosage is more precise than an injection for a better and more accurate control of your diabetic condition. It is also a more affordable option compared to other methods.
  6. The new pumps come with a wizard than can easily tell you the amount of bolus you need with the level of carbohydrates you consume and your sugar levels. It will also take into consideration how much insulin you have active still.
  7. Your history can be tracked and transferred to another device so you can check exactly how much insulin you received and when.

The Disadvantages of Insulin Pumping

Even though an insulin pump is a good idea, there are insulin pump disadvantages.  The cost of high quality pumps, infusion sets and cartridges can be quite high with some of them coming with a price that exceeds $5,000.  Even with the price, there is no guarantee it will have a long working life.  On top of this, the supplies needed to use it add to the expense.  There is also a chance that it might malfunction, especially when the tubing is damaged or the battery separates from the unit or from getting too hot. Other disadvantages to pumping insulin include:

  1. You must keep the pump with you at all times so it may be cumbersome during physical activity. You need to find a way around this since you need to keep it with you to keep your schedule. Though it is discreet, it can sometimes cause discomfort.
  2. If your pump doesn’t operate properly or something goes wrong, you will need to go back to medication or the dreaded injection. Check if the pump you have is covered under warranty to get it repaired or to get a replacement.
  3. Some people have scars in the location where the cannula is located. They sometimes get hard bumps that appear under the surface of the skin after this part is taken out.  Unfortunately, this is not a fast-healing incident so if you’ve had it inserted for a very long period of time, then it may happen. Keeping it in the same place may decrease the “acceptance” of insulin in that particular location. This is why it’s a good idea to change where the cannula is inserted.
  4. Some users have reported allergies in the area with the adhesive touches the skin. This doesn’t happen in all cases because everyone reacts differently.
  5. Higher quantities of insulin may need to be purchased so your expense at one time may be high. Some of the supply may not be used so the unused portion may go to waste.

History of Insulin Pumps

The modern insulin pumps are now more advanced compared to what it was back when it was first invented in the 1960s.  It was a very large device that was uncomfortable to use and was first used in Guys Hospital, London, UK in 1978. The device was developed to help return sugar levels back to normal by infusing insulin to diabetics. The insulin pump was developed by researchers of diabetes as well as a team of doctors and endocrinologists.

It was discovered in the 1970s that controlling glycemic levels will help diabetics avoid serious risks and avoid medical problems that are recurring. Another development was that HbA1c measurements were now possible to control glycemic levels. During this research, it was proven that controlling glycemic levels and control of risks related to Type 1 diabetes can be minimized.

Being able to reduce risks of other negative impacts of diabetes led to a decrease in various conditions.  The risk rate of developing nephropathy was reduced by 50%, the risk of developing retinopathy was reduced by 70% and neuropathy risks were reduced by 60%

Some of the benefits of insulin pump usage include the insulin does not store itself in your body, the dosage is infused fast and it works quickly plus the pump can be set to intervals you need more or less. Modern day insulin pumps now offer profiles for a bolus and the ability to enter various basal rates for different times of the day.  You can also now record your temporary basal rates and also how much insulin you’re getting on a daily basis.

Insulin Pump Acceptability

Why is the insulin pump so widely used?  There are many reasons why it is so popular.  It is easy to administer insulin doses and it is perfect for insulin therapy.  The device is very accurate for measurements for boluses and it is the perfect tool to use for infants that are diagnosed with diabetes. Because it limits the risks of developing other complications, it is accepted by both doctors as well as health insurance companies.  With the insulin pump, you can also accurately monitor your blood sugar levels quickly and easily without any pain of normal glucose meters.

Recent and Future Insulin Pump Developments

Compared to what they were like before, they’ve improved significantly over the years related to features and design. They can now calculate the amount of insulin you need based on the bolus size and the timing that you customize for insulin.  Users can now program a custom metabolic rate so that the device will accurately predict how much insulin is in your body at that time and give you the amount.

The modern day models now have bolus calculators that can accurately predict what your next dose will be based on how much carbohydrates you have consumed.  You can also use the wizard to set everything up and adjust your dosage as required based on various physical conditions.

If you forget about your dose, you can easily be reminded by the alarms that are sounded if you did not do what you should have done. This includes missed meals or exercise sessions. You can also connect the device to your computer and save the information for future use if you need to analyze your profile.  In addition, it can also be used in conjunction with various glucose meters and data entered to keep track. There are also some models that come equipped with remote control and those that have multiple uses such as the glucose meter and insulin pump combo. All batteries are rechargeable but you must remember to keep it charged at all times.

Insulin Pump Future Developments

Currently, developers are working on creating an insulin pump that acts as a pump as well as a monitor for glucose.  This will give users the benefit of having real-time information that will more effectively control blood glucose.  It will help control the amount of insulin received by the user based on the information from the glucose monitor. Those in the medical field hope to allow the insulin pump to work with Symbian or Amylin to control glycemic levels rather than just insulin.

Choosing and Comparing Insulin Pumps

Even though most pumps have standard features, you need to know what they are, how they work and if the insulin pump has extra features. There are other areas to look at too, before you buy one.

The pump should have features such as multiple basal rate storage for various times of the day or week.  It should also be able to track temporary basal rates and also various options for a bolus. Don’t forget that safety is important too, so it must have a lock as well as alarm sounding. Every insulin pump should record your doses and exactly how much has been used according to your custom basal rates.

There are many aspects you need to take into consideration when choosing an insulin pump.  It won’t be easy but with some important tips, it will be much easier.

  1. Think about how it works. You need to know how much of your medication can be stored in it.  The bolus should be large enough to fulfill the highest amount that you may need. Find out if the infusion set, if it uses one, is compatible with other pumps or if you must buy only those made by the same manufacturer. Check the battery type and make sure it one that is easily replaceable.
  2. See if the insulin pump has extra features or benefits compared to others. Extra features are an added bonus.

Diabetes Pump: How it Works

Many people use insulin pumps because they give the user doses of insulin as needed around the clock.  The dose is dispensed with the catheter that is inserted into a person’s skin. The doses you get are organized based on your basal rater, the amount of carbohydrates you consumed and also does to fix any high or low doses. Since the doses are given to you around the clock, you’ll always have normal blood sugar levels if you programmed the insulin pump properly.

It comes with a bolus that kicks in with the push of a button and this will adjust your insulin dose according to the amount of carbohydrates.  Adjustments can be done as necessary if you have less or more carbohydrates in your system.  This will keep glucose levels close to normal after a meal so the best time to use the bolus is before you plan to eat.

Insulin Pump Therapy: A Good Choice

A popular method of treating Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes is Insulin Pump Therapy.  This is an ideal method of controlling glucose levels and avoid serious complications that can occur from levels that are too high. With an insulin pump, the cannula is inserted into your skin like a catheter that will dispense your insulin doses.  The use of this, the frequency and the amount of insulin will depend on your personal medical conditions such as what kind of diabetes you suffer from and how much your glucose levels change.  The insulin type you need will depend on how quickly or slowly the insulin takes effect, the point where it is most needed and how long it takes for the effects of the insulin to wear off. You may have multiple types depending on what your doctor recommends.

There are many advantages to insulin pump therapy such as lower occurrence of hypoglycemia and lower glycemia factor. You’re dosage is easier to administer and adjustments are made automatically so it doesn’t need to be done manually by the user. If you are active, the insulin pump can be adjusted as required so you can get lower amounts of insulting during times you don’t need too much.

How Insulin Pump Therapy Delivers Insulin

The kit comes with a section that holds the medication and then is given through the cannula which is in your skin. The compartment with the insulin is connected to the tube which dispenses the insulin in the reservoir. You can connect or disconnect anytime.

Diabetes Pump for Kids

Many people turn to diabetes pump for kids after diagnosis of this disease.  It is ideal to control sugar levels in children and for long-term health benefits.  Before selecting one, it is best to speak to your child’s medical professional for recommendations and advice on how to use it.

What is a Diabetes Pump for Kids?

It’s a device that infused dosage of insulin and helps children avoid insulin injections or other methods. Since they are small devices, they can be easily hidden in a pocket or belt clip. Just like the adult version, this type of insulin pump can also be adjusted as needed depending on your child’s glucose levels and insulin needs.

Facts About Diabetes Pumps for Kids

The lightweight and small design will give your child the flexibility to be as active as necessary without any discomfort.  It is also possible to halt the release of insulin when your child is going to be active and this cannot be done using the syringe injection method.

Though many people think the opposite, using an insulin pump does not involve pain and your child will quickly adjust to it and not even know it’s there except when the child needs his or her dosage of insulin.

If your child is active in sports, the diabetes pump for kids can be disconnected for up to 60 minutes but to keep it off for an extended period of time, ask for your doctor’s advice. Make sure he or she has a snack first before being active in sports and have the doctor give you a specific regimen to keep your child’s sugar levels at or close to normal.

Kids break things all the time, and if your diabetes pump for kids has any problems, you have a warranty to fall back on for protection. Even if you need to replace it, the pumps are affordable for buyers. Malfunctioning is covered under the warranty.

Having the cannula inserted into your child is safe and does not come with a high risk of infection.  There is no pain and he or she will be comfortable wearing it. The tubing or cannula is under your little one’s skin and will not be noticeable after a few days of having it. Of course, infections are possible but they occur only in very rare cases.

Benefits of a Diabetes Pump for Kids

Controlling blood sugar levels is easy because the pump is programmable for precise distribution of insulin. Children can get smaller doses or larger doses depending on their basal rate.  Though you’re using a pump, it acts exactly the way the pancreas does to produce insulin.

HbA1c levels in diabetics are controlled and there are less possibilities of them fluctuating in either directions so chances of hypoglycemia are very limited.  This alleviates complications that can arise from hypoglycemia.

Proper control of glucose in the blood will help to prevent additional health problems from diabetes from arising later on in the child’s life.

Flexibility is an important factor that allows you’re child continue his or her life without having to give up any favorite physical activities.  He or she can still be active and participate in any sport.  There are no restrictions.

There are many benefits to using any type of insulin pump.  If you’re not sure about something about this method, contact your doctor.  You’ll get plenty of information and advice about using them properly to fulfill your needs.  Stay healthy and control your diabetes.

NOTICE: The material on this site for informational use only and should not be taken as medical advice. This email does not constitute any doctor-patient relationship, or any other type of relationship. The material has been thoroughly researched and believed to be the most up to date information at time of publishing. This material is offered as information only and the reader has the responsibility to verify any medical decisions or actions with his or her health care team.

Copyright © 2016. Diabetes is not a disease - it's a lifestyle!!

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