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!