Seriously? We have to thank the gods for advanced technology! LOL. Welcome to the first Diabetes Monday blog of 2011! Thought I'd talk a little about insulin pumps today since it is a subject that I haven't touched on previously. The above picture I found on the Internet. I guess the contraption was one of the first insulin pumps developed in the early 1970's. Talk about inconvenient!
Now, this is a little more like it! Wouldn't you agree? Just hooked to her jeans, it could be an ipod or a cell phone which offers anonymity to those not wishing to advertise to the world they have diabetes.
Okay, so lets get down to the facts. Remember that the body requires insulin to carry over sugar into the cell to be used for energy. Insulin is given by subcutaneous injections as shown below:
There are different types of insulin. Some are fast acting and others take longer to work. Those on a regimented program of insulin need to check their blood sugars then give themselves their insulin a couple of times a day depending on what their doctor has prescribed.
Insulin for normal functions of the body without food and a burst of insulin "on demand" when food is eaten is required for everyone--diabetics and non-diabetics alike. People without diabetes can trust that their pancreas will produce this insulin for them. If possible, diabetics need to take their prescribed insulin similar to the way their pancreas would make it. This is where the problem lies. Insulin administration and blood sugar control is not an easy task. The roller coaster of up and down blood sugars occurs when people have trouble trying to figure out just how much to eat...how much to exercise...how much insulin do they really need? Often, insulin reactions will occur resulting in either hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia. And if you're on that roller coaster ride, the damage done to your body's cells can be devastating!
With multiple daily injection therapy, it is not always clear how much insulin is being used for when your body is not digesting food, and how much is being used during food digestion. With insulin pump therapy, the two are clearly separate.
An insulin pump allows you to set a basal rate, or "background" insulin, to be delivered continuously throughout the day and night for normal body functions. When you eat you then push a button to give an extra dose of insulin, "on demand". Which I think is pretty cool, especially since it is already connected and no shot of any kind is involved. I'm such a baby when needles are pointed in my direction...So, any time I hear of a way of saving people an injection, I'm all for it!
When you exercise, you push another button to reduce the basal rate so that your blood sugar does not drop too low.
Remember, when you are sick or have an infection, you require more sugar in those cells as fuel to fight off the illness. Your body will increase your blood sugar levels during this time. The pump can easily adjust for this by allowing you to increase the basal rate so that your blood sugar does not go up too high. You can also increase or decrease your meal bolus based on the foods you choose to eat.
If you take an NPH or Lantus Insulin which are long acting insulins, you should be stuck in a rigid insulin therapy schedule. Long-acting insulin use tells you when you should eat or when you will need more insulin.
An insulin pump uses only short acting insulin, thus loosing up your strict regimen. Imagine, at the touch of a button, it seems that you can control your blood sugars easier, resulting in the least amount of lifestyle interruptions. Gotta love that technology!! There are pros and cons to everything. As always, check with your doctor to see if an insulin pump might work for you.
Every once in a while, I like to search around and see who of note has diabetes. I listed some actors/athletes last time. This time, my search found Anne Rice, one of my favorite authors.
Happy Monday to all!