By: Jan Chait
Who is a “typical” pumper? To find the answer, we went to insulin-pumpers.org, the not-for-profit Web-based Insulin Pumpers Organization (IP) of Milpitas, California. In the “About Insulin Pumpers” section of this Web site, executive director Michael Robinton has collected and compiled data from the more than 4,000 members who choose to fill out a survey.
About 20 percent of the members return a survey. Robinton estimates that the information lags from six months to one year.
On average, an insulin pumper wears a gray or blue pump with a 43-inch infusion set, changes the set every three days and uses 42 units of insulin per day (57 units for pumpers with type 2 diabetes).
The Most Popular Set?
For those unfamiliar with infusion sets, these are all the same set, with each pump company calling its product a different name. The cannula can be inserted into the body at nearly any angle, making this set a good, all-around choice for any body type.
According to the IP surveys, 44 percent of the respondents use the Tender/Comfort/Silhouette/Essential. The MiniMed SofSet comes in second, used by 39 percent, followed by the MiniMed QuickSet, used by 12 percent.
Pumpers are usually instructed to change the set every three days to avoid infection and to promote effective insulin absorption from the site.
But do pumpers really do that?
Most (48 percent) actually do change about every three days, with 11 percent who change every two days and 26 percent who change twice a week.
The IP list membership includes people of all ages, from the mother of a toddler who was placed on a pump at the age of 10 days to those who didn’t begin to pump until they were in their 60s.
People with type 1 diabetes make up 95 percent of those who filled out the survey, with type 2s making up the other 5 percent. Of every five people on the list, three are female.
Only 10 percent of pumpers use a single basal rate; 14 percent use two. Most—22 percent each—use three or four basal rates. As many as 16 percent use five, although only 1 percent of the respondents use as many as ten basal rates.
Meter Companies Should Like Pumpers
On average, pumpers test nearly seven times a day. And is pumping good for control? You bet!
The average A1C before pumping was 8%, going down to an average 6.8% after beginning pump therapy.
Visit the Web site to see how you compare to your fellow pumpers.
“It’s ‘feel-good’ stuff,” Robinton says. “It’s information that’s useful for people to know. It validates what people are experiencing.”