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What are your thoughts on insulin pumps?

I spent a month in a major insulin pump center and saw several things. Many of the female patients seemed to have wings on their sides where the pump tubing was inserted and they got lipohypertrophy from localized injections, but that was the least of it. None of them actually had remotely normal blood sugars. 

Of the new patients who visit me using pumps, there was only one whom I was able to get near normal blood sugars. It was because he was still in his honeymoon period of diabetes. After a year on the pump, his blood sugar started getting unpredictable. Why? I believe it is because of the scar tissue that forms where you have a foreign body inserted for days at a time.  

We find that if we take people off of pumps and have them inject insulin, they cannot inject into old pump sites because they won’t get predictable absorption of the insulin. They have to find new places to inject the insulin. 

I assume that the reason I have never seen other pump users controlled, is because of the scar tissue that forms as a result of the pump’s tubing. For some people it may take several years for the scaring to occur, but I would say that after seven years everyone who uses a pump gets scar tissue at the infusion sites.  

By the way, I looked at pump sales personnel, who are frequently diabetic, and when I’ve checked their A1cs, they are surprisingly sky high.  I was able to check these A1cs because I have an A1c meter in my office. It can use blood from a finger stick.

Richard K. Bernstein, MD is one of the most knowledgeable, committed and successful pioneers in the field of diabetes today.  He invented blood sugar self-monitoring  and basal/bolus insulin dosing, when he was an engineer.

Dr. B is Director Emeritus of the Peripheral vascular Disease Clinic of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. His private medical Practice in Mamaroneck N. Y. specializes in treating diabetes and obesity.

He is a physician, research scientist, thriving Type 1 for  67 years, and best-selling author of nine  diabetes books including Diabetes  Solution , The Diabetes Diet and several E-books. This link diabetes-book.com will give you more information about his publications. To  sign up for his free monthly teleseminars, visit askdrbernstein.net.

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