Monday, October 11, 2010

Living with Insulin Pumps

In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas no longer releases insulin, so the glucose keeps circulating in the blood with no way out. Managing diabetes is a balancing act between insulin and blood glucose.

Finding the right amount of insulin to keep blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible is the key to good control. It may take a while to become comfortable with injecting.

Insulin shock occurs when the level of your blood sugar drops quickly and leads to unconsciousness. It is a severe form of hypoglycemia and can be fatal if not treated in a timely manner.

In those with type 1 diabetes, shock is almost always related to a recent injection. The person may have been injected with too much or had an insufficient amount of food to balance the effects of the insulin taken.

To prevent shock you must learn how your body shows symptoms of hypoglycemia. The most common early warning symptoms are feeling confused, tired, hungry shaky, sweaty, and anxious.

If these symptoms are left untreated, it could lead to shock and result in seizures, coma or even death. But prompt treatment of symptoms can prevent insulin shock.

Most people use pumps to help them control their diabetes. The pump is used by tens of thousands of people of all ages.

Many studies have shown improved glucose management outcomes for those using one. It allows for more flexibility in lifestyle and the potential to even out the wide blood sugar fluctuations that are often experienced when injecting.

A pump eliminates the need for injections using a syringe. Instead of multiple injections every day, you only need to reinsert the needle once every two to three days.

You may be able to level out many blood glucose swings. Because you receive a continuous low dosage of insulin 24 hours a day, you are not prone to the rapid drop in glucose levels that can occur after injections with fast-acting insulin.

Pumps increase the flexibility of your diabetes management. If your schedule causes you to eat at odd times or miss a meal occasionally, you can more easily adjust to these circumstances with this device.

Because pumps use fast-acting insulin, extra can be given to cover a meal with the simple push of a button. The device can reduce low blood sugar reactions.

There are greater risks of hypoglycemia with injections because you must take larger doses of at one time. The continuous flow of insulin a pump provides reduces the risk of a low, which is especially helpful at night when injecting too much could increase the risk of a low reaction during sleep.

The small devices were originally used by people with type 1 diabetes to help them achieve near-normal blood glucose levels while decreasing the incidences of hypoglycemia. Keeping tight control of blood sugar levels near-normal is a balancing act, with type 1 diabetes, because of the danger of bringing blood sugar too low, creating a hypoglycemic crisis.

The device helps keep the levels more constant with less fluctuation, and that reduces the risks. Flexibility is one of the major benefits of the pump.

People like the fact that they can live life more on their own terms. They don't have to plan their day around meal plans and injections.

It offers more choices regarding what you eat and when you eat it. The device especially helps kids and adolescents feel like they "fit in" with their classmates.

Your health care provider can help you decide about a device since there is a lot to learn. A basal rate will be determined by your provider based on your individual needs.

You'll learn how to figure out bolus doses and when to give them. Preventing ketoacidosis and hypoglycemia, formulas for sports and exercise, how to care for insertion sites and how to use the device are all things that should be addressed at the start.

Most people like the pump and feel that improvement in quality of life far outweighs the time and effort needed to effectively make the switch to the device. Although many insurance companies cover some or all of the cost of the pump, some cover more than others.

Jack R. Landry has worked as a nurse practitioner for the last 16 years. He has worked in local clinics and the ER and recommends ( for high blood pressure cure.

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