Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors
"How do insulin pumps work?"
Is it true that a pump could just do all of my insulin injections for me, so I would not have to do the math and injections myself anymore?
Insulin pumps are an excellent new technology that is getting better and better in recent years. It is used pretty much exclusively in the management of type 1 diabetes (childhood onset). The advantages of the insulin pump is that it delivers continuous small amounts of insulin, which results in better, tighter control of the blood sugar levels.
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The insulin pump is not suited for type 2 diabetes (adult onset). So if you have adult onset diabetes and are taking either insulin or a mixture of insulin and medications, you will have to continue with that regimen. In the setting of type 1 diabetes, the insulin pump is quite effective. However, as it involves very tight control of blood sugar levels, the amount of work that goes into maintaining the pump is actually quite significant. Blood sugars with finger pricks need to be checked much more frequently and adjustments need to be made with snacks, meals, and the like. Although the main advantage of the insulin pump is that it produces better sugar control, the main disadvantage is that it is work intensive. Therefore, if your primary interest is reducing the amount of work, this is not for you. However, you should talk to your endocrinologist for more information.
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