Diabetes is a demanding disease. When we say demanding we weigh upon the constant attention it requires, the meticulous tracking of blood sugar levels, and the need for medication administration. However, novel therapies investigated in clinical trials for diabetes like the Insulin Pump have significantly made the management of diabetes easy.
In this comprehensive blog, we will explore how insulin pump therapy can make the intricate task of diabetes management remarkably easy and enhance the quality of life for those suffering with diabetes.
Diabetes Mellitus: is a chronic condition that occurs when the body is unable to produce enough amount of insulin or is unable to utilize effectively the insulin it is producing. Our body produces insulin to maintain its blood glucose levels.
There are primarily two types of diabetes:
Type 1 Diabetes: In this type, the immune system destroys the insulin producing cells in the body and hence patients need regular administration of insulin.
Type 2 Diabetes: In this type, the body does not produce sufficient insulin hormone or doesn’t respond to the insulin body produces more commonly known as insulin resistance.
Symptoms of Diabetes include:
- Frequent urination
- Increased thirst
- Slow healing of wounds
- Recurrent infections
- Numbness in hands and feet
Diabetes management isn’t easy; it’s a challenging journey that frequently impacts emotional and mental well-being, demanding resilience and perseverance. Sometimes, you crave the joy of eating and spontaneous activities without the burden of diabetes management, seeking carefree moments. Here comes insulin pumps that may potentially help make one’s life easy. It helps you reclaim control over your health without sacrificing the activities you love.
What are Insulin Pumps?
Small, computerized devices designed to assist in diabetes management are insulin pumps. It is the size of a small cell phone and administers scheduled doses of insulin. This device provides a continuous supply of short-acting insulin throughout the day, thus eliminating the necessity for numerous daily injections hence contributing to the improvement of blood sugar control.
How does the Insulin Pump Function?
An insulin pumps operates through two different mechanisms:
Continuous Insulin Doses (Basal Insulin):
Basal insulin is the insulin that the pump delivers continuously throughout the day and night, imitating the body’s natural insulin production. This steady infusion helps to maintain stable blood sugar levels between meals and overnight when the body is not receiving additional glucose from food. A person’s basal insulin rate is typically regulated according to their own needs, accounting for several aspects like activity level, metabolic rate, and the body’s inherent insulin requirements.
Insulin Surges Near Mealtimes (Bolus Insulin):
Bolus insulin, administered in larger doses coinciding with meals, helps body manage additional insulin needs for incoming glucose from food. Individuals using pumps typically calculate the bolus insulin based on factors like the carbohydrate content of the meal, and current blood sugar levels. This on-demand insulin delivery helps to prevent post-meal spikes in blood sugar levels and promotes more precise blood sugar control throughout the day.
Types of Insulin Pump
There are 2 types of Insulin Pump:
Tethered Insulin Pumps
A tethered insulin pump is a device connected to your body that delivers insulin through small tube connected to cannula. It is worn externally, hence can be carried on a belt, in a pocket, or within a body band. Manage the tubing carefully to prevent accidental disconnection.
Patch Insulin Pumps
A patch insulin pump, often referred to as a patch pump or tubeless insulin pump, is a type of insulin delivery system designed to be worn directly on the skin. These pumps adhere to the skin’s surface and have a reservoir of insulin that is directly connected to infusion set. Patch pumps are wirelessly controlled through an external device, enabling users to program insulin delivery directly from the patch. The external device enables convenient adjustment of insulin doses, especially for meals, without the necessity of directly manipulating patch pump. The absence of tubing removes the need to manage and secure tubes, offering greater flexibility and convenience for diabetes management.
Who Should Use Insulin Pump?
Using Insulin Pump is completely an individual’s personal decision, however, in certain instances, individuals with diabetes may receive recommendations to consider this option when:
- Encountering delayed food absorption
- Considering pregnancy while managing diabetes
- Facing severe low blood sugar levels
- They are physically active and want to halt insulin doses during exercise.
Advantages of Using Insulin Pump
- Improved Blood Sugar Control: Insulin pumps provide a continuous and right amount of insulin that you need at that time, contributing to better blood sugar control compared to multiple daily injections.
- Reduced Hypoglycemia Risk: Insulin Pumps help minimize the risk of low blood sugar levels, promoting a more stable and controlled glucose profile.
- Reduced Injection Fatigue: Using an insulin pump eliminates the need for multiple daily injections, reducing the physical burden associated with injection fatigue.
- Accurate Insulin Delivery: Studies indicate that insulin doses are delivered more accurately with insulin pumps, leading to fewer abrupt highs and lows in blood sugar levels. Pump users also tend to use less total daily insulin.
- Enhanced Flexibility: Pumps allow flexibility in managing diabetes, with the ability to easily adjust bolus doses based on factors such as meal schedules, time of day, and activity levels.
- Enhanced Quality of Life: The improved control and flexibility offered by insulin pumps contribute to an enhanced quality of life and a sense of greater freedom, allowing individuals to more effectively manage their diabetes while participating in various aspects of daily living.
- Better Pregnancy Planning: For individuals planning a pregnancy, insulin pumps can be advantageous in maintaining optimal blood sugar levels, reducing complications and supporting a healthier pregnancy.
Disadvantages of Using Insulin Pump
- Insulin Pumps can be expensive.
- Insulin pumps are electronic devices and can be prone to technical malfunctions or issues, which may disrupt insulin delivery.
- A malfunction or interruption in insulin delivery may elevate the risk of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) among pump users.
- Prolonged use of infusion sites can lead to skin irritation, redness or skin infections. Rotating infusion sites regularly can prevent this issue.
In light of the above given facts, diabetes is a chronic condition that affects millions of people worldwide. To manage diabetes well, insulin pumps have been a transformative approach. These small devices provide continuous insulin delivery with precise control. Beyond improving blood sugar management, insulin pumps grant flexibility in dosage adjustments and are particularly advantageous for those facing challenges such as delayed food absorption, active lifestyles, or planning pregnancies.
Prime Revival Research Institute is a clinical research organization in the USA. Understanding the challenges of diabetes management, their dedicated team tirelessly works to discover and implement improved solutions for you. Clinical trials are currently evaluating the safety and efficacy of Insulin Pumps for individuals with Type 2 Diabetes. If interested, participate or encourage someone you know to participate.
It’s an opportunity worth considering, as you can contribute to advancements in diabetes healthcare.
Also Read: From Fiction to Reality: Heroines on the Run