How does an insulin pump work?

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An insulin pump is a small portable device that delivers insulin into your body. It’s an alternative to frequent insulin injections, and some pumps can also monitor your blood sugar levels.

A 2019 review It is estimated that around 350,000 people in the United States use insulin pumps. Above 90 percent of the insulin pump users have type 1 diabetes and the remaining 10 percent have type 2 diabetes. People with type 1 diabetes depend on insulin and have to inject it to survive.

This article explains how insulin pumps work and the advantages and disadvantages of these devices.

Outside the body, an insulin pump is supposed to act like a human pancreas. Your pancreas secretes insulin in response to changes in your blood sugar levels. But when you have diabetes, your body doesn’t release insulin or use it properly. Hence, you need to find another way to get the insulin you need.

Insulin pumps work by delivering a basal or fixed rate of insulin through a tube called a cannula. The cannula is inserted directly under the top layer of skin. Your doctor will work with you to determine the amount of insulin you need each day.

Insulin pumps can also deliver a bolus of insulin. This is an extra dose of insulin on top of your basal rate. However, a pump does not automatically give you that extra dose of insulin. You must tell the pump to deliver the bolus dose.

Some insulin pumps also monitor your blood sugar levels. The pump tells you what your blood sugar is in real time so you can give yourself insulin.

Insulin pumps give you insulin according to your programming. They don’t adjust by themselves to your changing insulin levels.

They require specific training on your part to ensure that you can use them safely and effectively.

An insulin pump is usually the size of a deck of cards, although the size can vary depending on the model. You wear the pump outside of your body.

The pump usually consists of:

  • a screen
  • a place for an insulin container
  • a thin cannula or tube attached to your body

You can insert the cannula into different parts of your body. Some of the most common places are the abdomen, thighs, or buttocks.

The cannula acts as a mediator from the pump to your skin. You place the small end of the cannula in the subcutaneous tissue under your skin. Typically, you cover this end with a small, clear, or flesh-colored bandage so it stays in place and doesn’t come off.

Due to innovations in pump technology, some pumps have additional functions, such as:

  • Hypoglycemia suspension (interrupted when your blood sugar gets too low)
  • Touch screen
  • Waterproofing, to a certain depth
  • Wireless capability

In addition to the more traditional pumps, insulin patch pumps are also available. These are small pumps that stick directly to your skin. Instead of being attached to a pump, these patches have a wireless mechanism. The mechanism sends signals to the patch to release insulin directly into your body.

Which pump is right for you depends on your type of diabetes, your insurance status and your age. Some pumps are not approved for use by children.

The availability of insulin pumps can depend on a number of factors. In addition, insulin pump manufacturers can introduce new pumps or improved models and phase out older models.

In addition, some pumps can be recommended for certain age groups or types of diabetes. It is important to speak to your doctor about choosing a pump. This will help ensure that the pump of your choice is the right option for you, your insulin needs, and your lifestyle.

Examples of commonly used insulin pumps are:

An insulin pump can be a convenient way to control your blood sugar and keep your diabetes well under control. Let’s look at some of the key benefits.

Using an insulin pump isn’t always the best option for everyone. Let’s take a closer look at some of the cons of this device.

An insulin pump and daily injections are both effective ways to control your blood sugar levels. The most important thing is that you carefully monitor your blood sugar and follow your doctor’s instructions for treating your diabetes.

It is very important that you spend time with a diabetes care professional or your doctor to learn how to properly use your insulin pump.

Before you start using an insulin pump, it is important that you know the following:

Most pumps include a bolus dose calculator. This will help you calculate how much extra insulin you might need based on your daily carb intake.

Some pumps also offer an “extended bolus” option. This allows you to administer the dose over 2 to 3 hours. This option can help prevent hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. Hypoglycemia is a potentially dangerous condition.

You must change the insulin in the pump according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. For example, fast-acting insulin formulations such as Lispro and Aspart must be replaced every 144 hours or every 6 days, according to a Study 2019. Glulisin, on the other hand, should be replaced every 48 hours.

Remember, insulin pumps can’t do anything to treat your diabetes. They play the most important roles in managing your care, including:

  • check your blood sugar regularly
  • Manage your diet
  • Tell your pump what dose of insulin to deliver

An insulin pump is an alternative to multiple daily insulin injections. This device is mainly used by people with type 1 diabetes, but about 10 percent of users have type 2 diabetes.

Some insulin pumps are connected to your body by a thin tube that delivers insulin under your skin, while others are like a patch that delivers insulin through your skin. Some pumps can also monitor your blood sugar levels.

If you don’t want to give yourself daily insulin shots, an insulin pump can be a good option for you. However, it takes a lot of practice to use one properly. Because of this, it is important to work closely with your doctor or a diabetes care provider to understand whether an insulin pump is right for you.


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