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DUK Insulin Pumps

Insulin pumps may be an alternative to injections for some young people with Type 1 diabetes.


A pump is a small device, about the size of a small mobile phone. It delivers a steady flow of rapid acting insulin around the clock. The insulin is sent through a fine plastic tube that runs from the pump to a cannula (a very thin and flexible plastic tube) inserted just under the skin.


Having an insulin pump gives you a lot more freedom, but there is a lot of work which needs to be put in, so make sure you feel ready for it and are as prepared as you can be.


Giving Yourself Extra Insulin (Bolus Dose)


When you’re eating a meal with carbs in it, you will give yourself a dose of insulin known as a bolus.


If you use a pump, a dietitian will work with you to calculate the carbohydrate content of your food so that you’re able to give the appropriate bolus dose. You can also give yourself a bolus dose, known as a correction dose, if your blood glucose levels are high.


Advantages to Using Pumps


• Fewer needles - the cannula is only replaced every 2 or 3 days, instead of multiple daily injections


• Your lifestyle can be more flexible


• You may be able to reduce your total dose of insulin as your diabetes control improves


• It’s easy to use - once the pump is set up and you're used to it, you can give yourself insulin at the push of a button!


• You can change your background (basal) insulin on an hourly basis, which helps with things like exercise, and ' dawn phenomenon'

Paradgim Real Time Pump

Disadvantages to Using Pumps


• You need to test your blood glucose levels more often - the insulin used in the pump is only short acting and so you can be more likely to get DKA and quicker


• You may forget your bolus doses - this can happen with injections too though!


• Infection may develop around the area of skin where the tube is inserted, or you may be alergic to the adhesive used


• You may get scarring at the insertion site, however there are lotions and creams you can use for this (tea tree oil works miracles!)


Mighty DUK's Top Tips for insulin pumps 


• Understand the limitations of the pump, if you choose one expecting a miracle, you might end up disappointed - it takes a bit of work and isn't a cure!


• Always tuck your wires away, it can pull out the cannula site if you catch it on something, "I always seem to get mine caught on door handles."


For more information on pumps check out - http://www.inputdiabetes.org.uk/ or http://www.ipagscotland.org/