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More and more people with diabetes are using insulin pumps instead of daily shots to manage their disease. The pumps give them more freedom to eat, sleep, and exercise when they want. A pump can be an important tool in preventing problems like very low blood sugar.
But using an insulin pump takes some getting used to. The more you learn about your pump and how to live with it, the happier you will be.
Some people say choosing which pump to use is actually harder than deciding to switch to a pump in the first place. There are a number of insulin pump companies, and each pump is slightly different.
Ask members of your diabetes team which pumps they recommend. If you have insurance, find out which pump brands are covered. Then ask those companies to send you information. Insulin pump companies also have websites where you can get all kinds of information. Your diabetes educator likely will have a variety of pumps that you can look at.
Because improvements in insulin pumps are happening so fast, your local hospital may have open houses a few times a year so that pump makers can show their products and tell you how they work.
Ask the company to send a sales representative to your home. That way you can see each pump you are considering, see how easy it is to program the pump, and learn how to give yourself a bolus (extra insulin).
You should be able to try out the pump with saline solution. That way you can really see how it works and feels.
The infusion site is the area on your body where you have attached your infusion set.
Hooking your pump on a waistband or carrying it in your pocket may be the obvious choices, but when you don't have a waistband or a pocket, you have to come up with other ideas.
If you wear your pump on a belt or somewhere else in plain sight, you may get questions. Most people will just think you're wearing a pager, especially if your tubing is out of sight. But if the thought of having to answer questions about your diabetes bothers you, there are lots of ways to keep your pump hidden. Just make sure you can get to your pump easily when you eat or need to correct your blood sugar level.
Pump companies offer various holders that fit their pumps and allow you to carry your pump on your thigh, your calf, or your arm. Clothing makers are starting to make clothing especially for insulin pump users, with special hidden pockets.
Here are some other ideas:
Some pumps attach directly to the body and do not need tubing. A remote device controls the pump. And some pumps are disposable and do not use tubing or a remote control. A pump with no tubing is sometimes called a "pump patch."
Planning ahead can help make your travels easier. Here are some tips:
Other Works ConsultedAmerican Diabetes Association (2017). Standards of medical care in diabetes-2017. Diabetes Care, 40(Suppl 1): S1-S135. http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/40/Supplement_1. Accessed December 15, 2016.American Diabetes Association (accessed March 2014). Insulin pumps. Available online: http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/medication/insulin/insulin-pumps.html.Beaser RS (2010). Using insulin to treat diabetes: General principles. In RS Beaser, ed., Joslin's Diabetes Deskbook: A Guide for Primary Care Providers, 2nd ed., pp. 263-296. Boston, MA: Joslin Diabetes Center.Heinemann L, et al. (2015). Insulin pump risks and benefits: A clinical appraisal of pump safety standards, adverse event reporting, and research needs-A joint statement of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes and the American Diabetes Association Diabetes Technology Working Group. Diabetes Care, published online March 16, 2015. DOI: 10.2337/dc15-0168. Accessed March 20, 2015.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerDavid C.W. Lau, MD, PhD, FRCPC - EndocrinologyRhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator
Current as ofMarch 13, 2017
Current as of: March 13, 2017
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & David C.W. Lau, MD, PhD, FRCPC - Endocrinology & Rhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator
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