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Diabetes and the Insulin Pump

If you have diabetes, insulin pumps are small, computerized devices (about the size of a small cell phone) that you wear on your belt or put in your pocket that allow for a continuous flow of a rapid-acting insulin to be released into your body. The pumps have a small, flexible tube (called a catheter), which is inserted under the skin of your abdomen and taped in place.

The insulin pump is designed to deliver a continuous amount of insulin, 24 hours a day according to a programmed plan unique to each pump wearer. The amount of insulin delivered can be changed by the user.

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Between meals and overnights, a small amount of insulin is constantly delivered to keep the blood sugar in the target range. This is called the basal rate. When food is eaten, a bolus dose of insulin can be programmed into the pump. You can measure how much of a bolus you need using calculations based on the grams of carbohydrates consumed.

When using an insulin pump, you must monitor your blood sugar level at least four times a day. You set the doses of your insulin and make adjustments to the dose depending on your food intake and exercise program.

Why Use an Insulin Pump for Diabetes?

For diabetes, some health care providers prefer the insulin pump because its slow release of insulin mimics how a normally working pancreas would release insulin. Studies vary on whether the pump provides better blood sugar control than multiple daily injections.

Another advantage of the insulin pump is that it frees you from having to measure insulin into a syringe.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Kimball Johnson, MD on June 15, 2012

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If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

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