From Riverdale, Georgia, USA:
What is the negative side of using an insulin pump?
Insulin pumps are expensive, sometimes the sets cause local skin irritation and skin infections, and they don't work very well when one is not doing a lot of blood glucose testing. They also don't work so well when one does not know how to carb count, adjust insulin and make adjustments for activity changes, sick days, etc. Sometimes they break, leak, catheters get dislodged/kinked. So all of these are the negatives.
The biggest positive is that they provide a more physiologically balanced way to deliver basal and bolus insulin, thus providing more flexibility with meals and snacks, and changes in schedule. In many studies they reduce hypoglycemia. In some, but not all, studies they improve day to day glycemia and also hemoglobin A1c levels.
If you want more information about pumps, there are several websites including this one [see Insulin Pump Therapy] where you can chat with pump users, spouses of pump users, etc. There are also several excellent publications about pumps, all available on this website, through any book store by special order and through most on-line bookstores as well.
Additional comments from Dr. David Schwartz:Some people fear a negative body image when "attached" to a device just in general and/or during intimate moments. Also, various pumps have different degrees of water resistance and therefore the pump may need to be disconnected for brief periods when swimming, showering. The pump is not an "artificial pancreas" -- meaning it will not change the insulin delivery simply based on glucose levels. This underscores Dr. Brink's comments about needing to check glucose levels and dose insulin accordingly with meals. It is an expensive piece of equipment so I would should consider disconnecting during high-impact contact sports.
Original posting 8 Oct 2002
Posted to Insulin Pumps
Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:38
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