Should I Go on the Pump?

Are you a prime candidate for the pump? Since the DCCT found that tight control of BGs would significantly decrease diabetes complications, many have turned to insulin pump therapy as a way of controlling their BGs. However, insulin therapy takes commitment and vigilance. Here are some questions to consider before you try insulin pump therapy:

  1. Are you committed to controlling your blood sugars to feel better and stay healthy?
  2. Do you use your blood sugar tests to adjust your insulin?
  3. Do you test and record your blood sugars regularly, four or more times a day?
  4. Do you match the Humalog or Regular you take for each meal to the carbohydrate in that meal?
  5. Will you practice good sterile technique by washing your hands, cleaning and protecting the infusion site with products like IV Prep and IV 3000, and change your site at recommended frequencies to prevent infections?
  6. Will your spouse, family, and friends support you?
  7. Will you call your health provider when problems occur?

What Training do you Need?

Training is needed to effectively manage an insulin pump. Mastery of this material before starting a pump will be richly rewarded. Here’s what you’ll need to understand:

  1. How an insulin pump mimics the pancreas (mechanics, programming, etc.).
  2. The timing and action of Regular or Lispro/Humalog insulin.
  3. How to count carbohydrates in your food to determine the amount of insulin needed for meals.
  4. How to chart and analyze your daily blood sugar tests.
  5. How basal rates and boluses are used, and when to change them.

Excerpted with permission from “Pumping Insulin” by John Walsh, PA, CDE, and Ruth Roberts, MA, 2nd edition, 1994 (Torrey Pines Press, $19.95). To order this book call (800) 988-4772.

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