Insulin pump

Chances are you know someone who suffers from diabetes, either diabetes type 1 or diabetes type 2. And while we often hear about diabetes in anything from the TV news to sitcoms to commercials, newspapers and magazines, but unless you or your family has been personally touched by diabetes, you may not know too much about it. For instance, diabetes is a disease characterized by the fact that a diabetic human’s body does not produce enough, or properly respond to the effects of, a natural substance called insulin. Insulin is a natural hormone produced in the body’s pancreas. If the body produces too much insulin or has problems managing insulin, it produces glucose, which can cause multiple health problems. Diabetes comes in two common types and several less common types. The common types are diabetes type 1 (usually onsets at birth or an early age) and diabetes type 2 (usually onsets later in life and can result from bad eating habits, a sedentary life style, overweight, or all of those factors combined.)

Doctors only developed insulin therapy to treat diabetic patients in the 1920’s, but since then, great strides have been taken in caring for and treating diabetes. One of those strides has been the development and invention of an insulin pump. The insulin pump is a device used to treat diabetes type 1, otherwise known as diabetes mellitus. The insulin pump is a great gain over the way that diabetes once had to treat themselves. Before the insulin pump, diabetics treated themselves by administering daily shots into their body with an insulin syringe or an insulin pen. The insulin pump, though, offers a easier alternative to the pain of injecting yourself daily with shots.

The insulin pump is a small device worn on the belt or the back all day long. It administers a course of treatment known as continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion therapy. The pump includes controls, a processing module and batteries. Inside is a disposable reservoir of insulin for the treatment. The insulin pump also comes with a disposable infusion set, which includes an object called a cannula used for under the skin (subcutaneous) insertion of the insulin into the body.

Just because a diabetic patient is fitted with an insulin pump does not mean that his or her responsibility to treating the disease is over. For example, even if you do not have firsthand experience with someone who suffers from diabetes, you probably know from the television commercials popularized by grandfatherly actor Wilfred Brimley that diabetics have to monitor their blood glucose every day. Until very recently, diabetics had no choice when monitoring their blood glucose levels to prick their fingers or forearms with a needled (called a lancet) and then test the blood on a test strip. People who are using insulin pumps still have to perform this blood glucose monitoring procedure every day. Of course, pricking your skin to draw blood can be a painful procedure, and can become wearying if performed every single day. Luckily for diabetes sufferers, doctors recognize this discomfort and are trying to come up with less painful ways to test blood glucose, often ways that involve testing less and less blood, meaning less painful skin pricks.

People who use insulin pumps also are tasked with counting the carbohydrates – such as breads – that they allow in their diet every day. If a diabetic person plans to eat a high amount of carbs, her or she needs to alter his or her treatment accordingly. Otherwise, the diabetic person may find negative results later down the road.

If you suffer from type 1 diabetes and are still injecting yourself with insulin daily, ask your primary care physician about an insulin pump. This device could aid in your quality of life.

Last updated on Mar 10th, 2010 and filed under Health Products. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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