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Insulin pumps dispense insulin to patients with Type 1 diabetes or Type 2 diabetes. Unlike an insulin syringe or insulin pen, an insulin pump does not require multiple daily injections. When combined with a glucose sensor, an insulin pump can help with continuous glucose monitoring which leads to optimum blood sugar control in patients with diabetes.
Insulin pumps only use fast-acting insulin (such as NovoLog, Humalog and Apidra). Fast-acting insulin begins to lower your child's blood glucose within 15 minutes and continues to lower it for up to four hours.
Our endocrinologists typically do not place a child on an insulin pump until one year after being diagnosed with diabetes. Your child's doctor will work with you to determine if an insulin pump is an option for your child. Before switching to an insulin pump, you and your child will be trained on how to use the pump by our insulin pump team.
There is no minimum age requirement for insulin pump therapy. Generally, those who use an insulin pump are at least 8 years old.
Once you and your child’s doctor decide that pump therapy is the right option, your child will be referred to our Insulin Pump Program coordinator. You will receive information about the different types of pumps and start the process of transitioning to pump therapy with help from the insulin pump team.
Our pediatric diabetes dietitian will review your child's insulin regimen and teach you and your child how to count carbohydrates and use carb-to-insulin ratios. The insulin pump team will show you and your child how to use the pump to maintain the insulin regimen.
When an insulin pump is used, insulin is put into a special syringe that is placed within the insulin pump device. The insulin is then pumped from the device through a cannula (a small, thin tube used to administer medicine). The cannula is inserted under the skin in the same area where a regular insulin injection would be given. Tape is put over the cannula to keep it in place for up to three days.
The insulin pump is programmed to give a preset amount of fast-acting insulin at regular intervals all day long. This preset amount is called the basal rate. Each time your child eats, he or she must enter the amount of carbohydrates he or she will consume as well as his or her pre-meal blood sugar. These numbers allow the pump to administer the correct bolus insulin dose. The bolus dose is an extra amount of insulin given in addition to the basal rate. The bolus dose is determined based on blood sugar reading and the grams of carbohydrates that will be consumed during a meal or snack.
Keeping track of your child's blood sugar is an essential part of managing diabetes. Some parents like using a logbook or software spreadsheet. There are also apps for smart phones. Our insulin pump team created a blood sugar journal specifically for insulin pumps.
An insulin pump may benefit your child's diabetes management plan. Your child's doctor can provide more information about the pros and cons of an insulin pump.