What is an Insulin Pump?

insulin pumpIf you or a loved one is living with diabetes, you might have questions for your medical provider in regards to the various options available for insulin delivery. While traditional methods including a vial and syringe are still popular among some individuals, many have found a great deal of freedom and satisfaction by using an insulin pump. It’s important to investigate any options you’re interested in thoroughly, and of course discuss with your physician what the best course of action would be for your ongoing treatment. But as insulin pumps have become more popular, it’s increasingly easier to purchase insulin pump supplies from the diabetic supply company of your choice, including insulin pump clips, insulin pump cases, and any other insulin pump accessory. The availability of these devices is one factor in their favor.

Insulin pumps are small, computer-using devices that deliver two dosages of insulin into the body; a steady measured and continuous dose, called a “basal” insulin dosage, helps to regulate blood sugar on an hourly basis, while a “bolus” dose, or a surge delivered at the user’s direction, is injected around mealtime. The doses are delivered through a flexible plastic tube (a catheter), attached to a small needle, which is inserted through the skin and taped in place. While you still have to monitor your blood sugar, pumps can help individuals maintain higher levels of blood-glucose control, because of the fact that there is the continual dose. While many insurance companies will cover the devices, there are some that don’t—so make sure of your coverage before buying your insulin pump supplies.

The advantages of insulin pumps include relative freedom from the structured meal and exercise regime previously required for blood sugar control with slow-acting insulin, more precise dosages of insulin—which leads to tighter control and lower A1c levels, an accurate record of insulin usage, and programmable basal rates that allow scheduled delivery of varying amounts of insulin at different times of the day. There are some studies that also suggest that use of an insulin pump can help to alleviate neuropathy, when guidelines are followed. If you and your doctor agree that the pump will help improve your quality of life, you can easily find the variety of components easily from any diabetic supply company; the insulin pump cases, insulin pump clips, and other materials are very readily available.

The drawbacks to the insulin pump include the fact that the components used in an insulin pump are typically more expensive than the syringes used for injection; there is the possibility of malfunction, or of issues if the pump user does not receive sufficient fast acting insulin for many hours. Pump users should monitor their blood glucose levels a little more frequently than those who use vial and syringe. There are smaller issues as well, such as scar tissue buildup around the cannula, and the need to be aware of the pump during physical activity. Even with these factors in mind, however, if you and your doctor determine that you would be a good candidate for an insulin pump, it can provide a great deal of freedom in your day-to-day life, as well as giving you relief from some of the side-effects of the disease. Your preferred diabetic supply company can assist you in finding the right pump components.

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