The Benefits Of An Insulin Pump
You know, I think that the best way to explain how we’re impacted by something, is to look at things from a yearly perspective. If your on multiple daily injections; most of us insulin dependent diabetics test anywhere between 4-10 times daily, and inject anywhere between 4-6 times daily. This brings us to a rounded total of about 3,000 – 5,800 a year that our bodies have had some contact with a needle. Well, what about owning an insulin pump?? Only about 1,500 a year!! It is clear, using an insulin pump will cut injections by more than half. Trust me, after having to deal with that many injections, the last thing a diabetic wants to hear, is someones unwanted opinion concerning food.. LOL. People don’t have a clue how much discipline & “know how” required to be on insulin. Pumps can make this process exponentially easier. Regardless of what pump you choose to use, it will most definitely be an upgrade, and the beginning of improved quality of life.
The only thing I found I didn’t like about most of the wireless pumps, such as the Omnipod; was that if a pod malfunctions, and there’s insulin left in the pod, theirs no way to extract the remainder of insulin (I would not recommend trying to do so, as the circuit board is next to the reservoir, this can make it dangerous). If you’ve just put in a full 2ml worth of insulin, you’ve just lost about 3 days worth. In addition, that I am aware of, you cannot extend, or reuse a pod. Once the 3 days are up you must through it away.
Interference. Although I have not heard many complaints of radio-waves interfering with pump communication, I think it is something to think about. It would not hurt to ask your wireless pump manufacture, how well their product works around cellphone towers, high frequency cordless phones that are greater than 2.4mhz, microwaves, wireless LAN and home networks greater than G, and magnets. If you work in a hospital, explain to your pump rep the kinds of medical machinery you use or near to, and make sure it is ok to use the pump on the job.
Please note: Insulin pumps (wireless or not) cannot be warn during xrays, security scans (such as airports, court buildings), etc.. This can damage your unit and void warranty. You must remove your pump before any surgical procedure, Chemotherapy, CAT scans, mammograms, or any other simalar procedures.
The pros are the obvious, not having to worry about any loose tubing. I think this is the one and only real benefit of having a wireless pump. With Omnipod, everything is self contained in one pod, including the battery. In terms of overall features, they all can pretty much do the same things a tubed pump can do.
Another obvious reason. In many ways, it does take a lot of extra care to remind yourself you are connected via tube. In truth, it’s not the worse thing in the world. It’s just another way of life for most of us.
Unfortunately, because of the tubing, each time you change your infusion set, you can waste anywhere from 15 -21 units of insulin when priming. This is unavoidable, but still a worth while technology to invest in.
In terms of insulin, there’s a little more flexibility with tubed pumps than wireless. For instance, many tubed pump makers such as Animas, has grip connectors as part of their infusion sets. If it happens to break, you can replace it, without having to put a whole new infusion set. Unfortunately, you can’t do that with Omnipod.
If you run out of insulin before it’s time to change your infusion site, you can often simply change the reservoir, without having to insert a new infusion set.
Reservoirs are often cheap. this can work in your favor, if your insurance doesn’t want to pay. Why is this a benefit? Well, during the summer time, we all know that insulin starts to degrade in extreme hot weather. You can fill only a half of the reservoir, so that the least amount of insulin degrades. This is a huge benefit for me, because I was on insulin pens, every new pen I carried had 3ml worth of insulin. This is about a weeks worth of insulin for me. By mid week I would notice a difference in how my insulin would work. Buy the time I’ve used about half the pen, I’d had to increase my dose slightly because of the loss of insulin strength. Having the option to fill the reservoir as desired, eliminated the need for me to carry an ice pack.
A tubed pump does not require the remote/PDM to deliver a bolus. Can’t do that with an Omnipod. However, Medingo’s wireless pumps you can.
These are basic features that most pumps have, if your in the market for a new insulin pump, please inquire about these features to your pump manufacture.
This is a huge important feature. This allows you to program a slow bolus, or spread out your bolus. Why is this such a big deal? Because when your eating foods that are high in fat, protein, & complex carbs, it can assist with the tail end of raising blood sugar.
Most pumps will allow you to either increase the percentage of basal, or allow different programmable sets. Why is this important? Because, stress, sickness, physical activity, foods, can change your blood sugars at a moments notice. You need the flexibility to control your basal rates easily to accommodate sudden situations, or routine lifestyles.
No more shots!!! Anytime you need to correct your sugar after a meal, all you need to do is press a few buttons and your done! No more insulin vials, syringes, priming, sticking, and the looks people give you when you inject public….
Many infusion sets allow you to easily disconnect for swimming, showers, or intimacy.
There are a wide variety of infusion sets on the market. Many of them use something called “Leur Lock” which is a standard connection to the reservoir of your pump. This makes it possible to use cross manufactures, if the current infusion set isn’t working for you. However, keep in mind, that some companies such as Minimed are proprietary, and do not use any other pump. However, I have seen adapters for them.
Have you ever forgotten what time I’ve taken your last injection. I do it all the time. Most pumps have a history view, so you can see your last injection.
Insulin On Board is a wonderful feature that tells you how much insulin you still have active in your body. This helps to prevent sudden lows.
I/C, ISF, BGT:
Insulin to Carb ratios, Insulin Sensitivity Factors, & Blood Glucose Targets, can easily be programed in to your new pump. All of these things not only help manage your diabetes, but avoid hypoglycemia from taking too much insulin.
This can also be a learning tool for your young one’s with diabetes. Indirectly, it can teach them the value of a carb, and the value of a unit of insulin. It encourages youngsters to be independent, and gracefully prepares them for a life of insulin therapy.
Please note, Insulin to Carb ratios, Insulin Sensitivity Factors, & Blood Glucose Targets, ARE NOT THE SAME VALUES, AS BEING ON MULTIPLE DAILY INJECTIONS. In other words, you must discuss these values with your physician, clinician, LPN, or CDE. Your pump trainer will then assist you in programming the above values in to your new pump. It is a good idea to always write down your values, so that if you need a pump replacement, you can program those same values in to the new pump..
Many have alarms and vibration features, that help you to remember to check blood sugar. Some even have software that will allow you to download different tunes to your pump.
Always have syringes handy in the event your pump does not work. Do this especially when your on vacation or far away from home. There is nothing worse than not being able to use your insulin.
As time goes on, I may update this from time to time. I hope this was helpful to all my visitors..