Insulin Pump


Editors
Leonor Corsino, MD, MHS, FACE
Ramon Martinez, MD

Additional Resources
American Diabetes Association

Related Resources
Insulin

Insulin pumps are small computerized devices that mirror the way the pancreas works. Insulin pumps will  deliver a small doses of insulin in a steady measured dose (basal rate ) and also “on demand” (bolus dose) around mealtimes.

You and your health care provider will program the pump worn on your body to provide you with a continuous dose of insulin.

Pumps may be a good choice for you, if:

  • You don’t mind wearing the pump on your body all the time
  • You have type 1 diabetes or insulin-requiring type 2 diabetes

Pumps also work best for people who are willing to learn to manage their own insulin doses and monitor blood sugar. It also may be beneficial for some people with unstable glucose levels that vary from using injectable insulin.

Common Advantages:

  • Flexibility to adjust insulin as needed
  • Insulin delivery is consistent
  • Precise insulin delivery- ability to accurately deliver 1/10th of a unit of insulin
  • You prefer one needle stick every 2-3 days over multiple daily insulin injections

Considerations and Limitations of Insulin Pumps

The decision to select an insulin pump with or without a tube varies with each individual and may be influenced by:

  • Occupation
  • Level of Physical Activity
  • Insurance Coverage & Price
  • Risk of infection at the catheter site
  • Comfort with technology

Combining Insulin Pumps with CGMs

Combining insulin pump therapy with continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) - sometimes called Sensor-augmented pump (SAP); is a flexible way to deliver insulin and continuously monitor blood glucose levels at the same time. This type of combination can help reduce the risk of dangerously low (hypoglycemia) and high (hyperglycemia) blood glucose. This is usually recommended for individuals who have difficulty managing blood glucose levels or for people who want to get better control. Careful training and education from your health care team are important If you want to see success with managing glucose levels and control your diabetes.

Questions to Ask Your Healthcare Provider:

  1. Which insulin pump is right for me?
  2. What are the pros and cons of using an insulin pump?
  3. What is the cost of the insulin pump and additional supplies?
  4. How often do I need to check my blood glucose?
  5. Should I combine an insulin pump with a CGM?
  6. Should I see an endocrinologist?

Edited: November, 2018