The insulin pump is a device that is an alternative to the traditional methods of injecting insulin into the body manually. The pump is designed to deliver insulin in three different ways, the basal rate, correction and boluses which are all designed in reaction to glucose building up in the blood stream. The basal rate is the delivery of small amounts of insulin over the day while correction is used before a meal and finally boluses is the injection used to cover the carbohydrates consumed during meals.
For many, the insulin pump offers many advantages over the old way of injecting insulin into the body. However, it is not without its unwanted side effects.
The Pros of an Insulin Pump
Better Insulin Delivery Control:
Arguably the biggest advantage that the pump offers is that it improves the delivery of insulin on a regular basis. By injecting small amounts over a long period of time, it offers a better way to control blood sugar than manual injections.
No longer does a person have to manually inject insulin several times a day as instead the pump does it for them. This means less pain and greater convenience for the diabetes patient.
Fewer Swings in Insulin Levels:
Because the insulin is regulated by the pump, there are fewer large swings in the amount of glucose in blood. This means less damage to blood vessels over time.
Fewer Occurrences of Hypoglycemia:
This is one of the issues that many people with diabetes face when using old fashioned manual injections. Miss a scheduled injection and face an increased risk for hypoglycemia.
The Cons of an Insulin Pump
Although the advantages that the insulin pump brings are considerable, there are still some disadvantages that people will need to be aware of in case they decide to use this product.
Any device, no matter how well constructed may malfunction and deliver either too much or not enough insulin which may lead to a dangerous situation if not quickly corrected.
Greater Risk of Ketoacidosis:
The pump itself uses insulin that acts rapidly and if this is disrupted for whatever reason your blood glucose levels may rise considerably and put you at risk of getting ketoacidosis which can be dangerous.
Insulin pumps are not cheap and cost around $7,000 for the pump and an additional $1,500 for the supplies on an annual basis.
The pump is going to be attached to you at all times which may make it inconvenient in certain circumstances. Plus, it will not solve all of the glucose issues in the blood as you will need to test your blood sugar levels before meals and just before you go to bed. Plus, the bolus injection will still be required before you eat, so you will need to be aware of that as well.
Overall, the advantages of the insulin pump certainly outweigh the issues that most people will face. However, it is important to understand all of what the insulin pump offers so that you can be fully informed if it is the right choice for your needs.