Skip to content

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size

Juvenile Diabetes Kids Like Insulin Pump

Insulin Pump as Safe, Effective as Multiple Daily Injections
WebMD Health News

Sept. 10, 2003 -- Kids with type 1 diabetes like insulin pumps better than insulin shots, a new study suggests.

That's not news to parents. Ellen H. Ullman of Boca Raton, Fla., has a son with type 1 diabetes.

"How many shots a day would you like?" Ullman asks WebMD. "Well, kids don't like shots any better than you do. My son is 15 and has been pumping since he was 7. He's loved it and his blood sugars have never been better."

Today's insulin pumps are about the size of an electronic pager. They're programmed to infuse insulin continuously into the body through a thin needle placed under the skin. Some day, the pumps may be part of a system that senses when the body needs insulin and automatically delivers the exact dose needed. Now, pump users have to calibrate the machines by doing several finger-prick blood-sugar tests every day.

They are available for adults and sometimes used in teens. But doctors have been reluctant to recommend them for younger children.

That soon may change. Several important studies have already shown that with proper supervision, the pumps can work in kids. Now a small clinical trial shows they work as well -- and as safely -- as multiple daily injections in 9- to 14-year-old kids. What's more, kids prefer the pump to the shots.

The Latest Study

Naomi Weintrob, MD, and colleagues at Tel Aviv University in Israel randomly assigned 23 children to get multiple daily insulin injections or an insulin pump (the MiniMed 508, made by Medtronic. Medtronic is a WebMD sponsor). After three and a half months, they switched to the other regimen.

There were no significant differences in blood-sugar control or safety between the two regimens. When using the pump, kids tended to need less insulin, Weintrob and colleagues report in the September issue of the journal Pediatrics.

"The patients seemed to be more satisfied with pump therapy than multiple-daily-injection therapy," they write. "Be that as it may, satisfaction with pump therapy needs to be evaluated for longer periods, when the novelty of the pump is no longer a factor."

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

Check Your Blood Sugar Level Now
What type of diabetes do you have?
Your gender:

Get the latest Diabetes newsletter delivered to your inbox!


Your level is currently

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.

Did You Know Your Lifestyle Choices
Affect Your Blood Sugar?

Use the Blood Glucose Tracker to monitor
how well you manage your blood sugar over time.

Get Started

This tool is not intended for women who are pregnant.

Start Over

Step:  of 

Today on WebMD

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
kenneth fujioka, md
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Middle aged person
Home Healthcare

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
type 2 diabetes
food fitness planner