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Pumping Insulin: Freedom and Control

People with diabetes often feel like they are walking a tightrope between feeling free and maintaining control. In fact, maintaining a sense of freedom while meeting the demands of diabetes is no easy task. Insulin pumps are powerful tools that help many diabetics achieve that desired balance of freedom and control. Insulin pumps have become smaller, more advanced, and have a more intuitive user interface than ever. Life with diabetes is a journey that can be balanced with smart use of an insulin pump.

To illustrate this, I often imagine a teenager out with her friends who, on the spur of the moment, end up at the Veggie Grill for a burger. With the use of an insulin pump and a quick estimation of the carbohydrate content of the Bayou Burger, the touch of a button allows immediate coverage of the carbohydrates without a second thought. The insulin pump means excellent control without missing a beat. Only being able to eat meals at certain times and of certain sizes has become a prescription of yesteryear. Freedom and control are finally achieved.

Studies have shown that blood sugar control matters in keeping people with diabetes healthy in the long run. The insulin pump helps to imitate normal body functions and maintain control with a very predictable background level of insulin and “boluses” before meals. Who is a candidate for insulin pump therapy? Pumps are for motivated patients who are monitoring their readings regularly. In my experience, good monitoring is a key indicator of long term success with a pump. Continuous glucose monitors can also enhance control for those with pumps.

Learning about available insulin pumps via a website is a good place to start. Tandem, Insulet, Medtronic are some of companies that manufacture insulin pumps. Making an appointment at an insulin pump-friendly diabetes center, such as the Mary and Dick Allen Diabetes Center, and working with an endocrinologist/diabetologist who can prescribe a pump are important next steps. There is much to learn, but the result can be highly liberating.

Innovations in pump therapy continue to grow and, as years go by, insulin pumps offer increasing opportunities for both glucose control with simultaneous freedom and an essentially normal life. If you have diabetes, a pump may be just the answer you have been looking for!