Insulin pumps provide an easy and effective way of delivering insulin to the bloodstream
without having to inject using a needle. The pump is a small
device, about the size of a pedometer, that you control to send the
right amount of insulin into your system. You can set the pump to
automatically and continually deliver minute amounts of insulin to your
bloodstream to handle small rises of blood glucose. You also manually
control the pump to deliver a larger amount of insulin (a bolus) after
a meal or snack; or when your sugar level unexpectedly gets too high.
This manual and automatic control simulates how a non-diabetic's system
controls their blood glucose levels.
The pump provides an excellent insulin delivery method for people with diabetes who need a constant supply of insulin or for diabetics who want to
avoid injections. While the pump method still requires close blood
sugar monitoring, it does eliminate the need to carry an insulin pen or syringe wherever you go.
How it Works
The pump is comprised of a series of small parts that are, essentially,
attached to your body. First, a catheter will be inserted into your
skin just below your abdomen. A small, flexible tube will connect from
the catheter to your blood sugar meter and insulin pump. You can read
your blood sugar level at any time using the monitor without even
having to perform a prick test. The entire pump system can fit neatly
underneath your clothing and rest relatively unnoticed at your side.
When Not to Use a Pump
You should not use a pump if you play sports or are engaged in rough
physical activity that could dislodge the pump, such as kickboxing. If
the tubing becomes snagged during activity, the pump could be pulled
out from the catheter, causing the system to break and possibly even
causing you pain. Therefore, keep in mind that the pump should always
be treated with care.
If you need to remove the pump for a prolonged amount of time, you
should be prepared to inject insulin using a pen or syringe, or, you
can simply reconnect your pump for long enough to receive a dose of
Remember, there are a variety of insulin delivery methods
available. Speak with your doctor for more information about how the
pump may help you manage your diabetes.