Can someone explain the pump?

By KitKatt93 Latest Reply 2010-05-15 02:08:11 -0500
Started 2010-05-14 16:12:11 -0500

Hello everyone on Diabetic Connect. I see discussion titles about pumps. I'm curious what they do. From reading I get that they pump insulin in you, but how? How does it work and is it better than taking shots? Is it painful to have in you? What kind of insulin is it for? Last but not least, is it better for babys?


17 replies

monkeymama 2010-05-14 22:19:40 -0500 Report

Hello there Katt! I have been on the insulin pump for over 2 years now. While waiting for my pump to come in, I was on the injections. There are a lot of pro's to having a pump but first of all a insulin pump acts like a second pancreas. It decreases your chances of having a low blood sugar episode(s). It pumps insulin into you continuously through small tubing connected to you. I love the pump and I would NEVER go back to injections. You change your site every 2-3 days. The pump is taylored around your bodies needs. The pain is similar t injections if no pain at all. Insulin pumps use rapid acting insulin like Humalog and Novolog (there's other one too). I have heard of some small children being on a pump. They have all kinds of different pumps out on the market. If you put "insulin pump' into your search engine, there is a site that gives you a comparison of the pumps that are out there. A pump simply allows you to have a better and more tighter control over your diabetes. Best of wishes to you. :)

kdroberts 2010-05-14 21:19:16 -0500 Report

Age may be an issue. I'm not sure how young they are approved for but the rapid acting insulins that work best with a pump are not approved for infant use. For instance apidra is approved for 4 years+

KitKatt93 2010-05-14 22:12:01 -0500 Report

Hello Kdroberts. I was going to discuss 2 years with my mom and docter. I can't help but understand the reasonings why the 4+. lol I should have read what you wrote first now I have a sad face instead of a happy one lol but four isnt that much far away. I'm still excited :) the pump sounds so great!!!!!!!!!!!


Elrond 2010-05-14 21:01:32 -0500 Report

I just got hooked up to a pump last Monday and so far, I love it. No injections four times a day. I still need to test frequently but then I just tell my pump and it gives me the proper amount of insulin. It even computes the dose. Of course, I use my calculator to check but it's always right. So far, I've only needed to change sites once but the second change is due tomorrow. The last one was almost totally painless. (no worse than an injection by needle) My sugars are running much better. The pump itself is about the size of a cell phone and could easily be mistaken for one. I don't have any experience in treating babies for diabetes but it would be wise to consult a pediatric endocrinologist.

KitKatt93 2010-05-14 22:06:14 -0500 Report

Hello Elrond. Do all pumps compute the insulin dose based on your blood sugars? Congratulations on getting the pump! You must be loving not taking fours shots a day anymore. I want one so badly for her. I haven't talked to her Docter. I think it would be better to wait until she turns two unless she can leave the tubeless one alone. I need to talk to my mom about it to and chances are shes going to say no but I will show her what everyone has said about and she might get as excited about it as me.


Elrond 2010-05-15 02:08:11 -0500 Report

My pump is the only one I know anything about but I believe they are all similar. The tubeless pump is called Omnipod and I looked into it. It's a nifty little unit and might be exactly what you want. However, it's rather expensive. I can't quote figures at you but each unit is only used once then discarded. Most of the computing is done in the associated control unit / meter that accompanies the system. The 'pod' is filled with insulin and attached to the body at an appropriate location where the control unit wirelessly tells it how much insulin to administer and when. The frequency of pod changes depends on insulin use but I doubt you would ever want to go more than 3 days. If you're really interested, Omnipod will send you a dummy model and lots of literature about it. I'm using a Medtronic MiniMed Revel 522 and it seems to be a very popular choice. I wasn't given a choice because I'm a patient at the VA and this is what they issued. Even though I'm sure they chose it as the most economical, it cost them in the neighborhood of $7,000.00 plus associated accessories.

jfb814 2010-05-14 17:09:44 -0500 Report

I currently have a pump and have had it for about 18 months. I recently received a sensor too which talks to the pump and keeps track of highs and lows sounding an alarm when i go too low or high. I don't feel them. Inserting the tubing for the pump is painless. It is a small needle that places the tubing in but is then discarded so only the tiny tube is inside of you. You simply test, the meter talks to the pump and tells it your GB, you enter the amount of carbs you are about to eat and the pump feeds you the insulin required. Your doctor sets the pump up with the required information. I wear clothes with pockets and my pump sits there all day! At night it clips onto my PJs. You can remain active. Not waterproof so you have to remove it when showering or swimming. There is a plug that goes over the site so you don't have to put a new set in everytime. Change sets every 3 to 4 days and forget about it! Good Luck

KitKatt93 2010-05-14 21:59:09 -0500 Report

That sounds so neat. Do punch in your reading into the pump or does the pump do that on its own. And you count your carbs and it will give you insulin according to what your Doctor says you need for each carb? this is so neat! I hope Kylie gets one and I'll be so happy and maybe less paranoid and obsessed with her. How long were you taking shots everyday before you got this pump?

sloane 2010-05-14 16:30:18 -0500 Report

Hi there. I am an insulin pump trainer, and I can tell you many folks find the pump very good at controlling blood sugars. There is a resevoir that is filled with insulin and changed when it gets low(Easy to do_) The insertion device is easy to use, and gets attched to small tubing that is attached to the actual pump itself that holds the insulin and gets programmed for you personally. This can be kept in a pocket. Some pumps use "Tubeless" technology so that the device itself is like a cell phone and gets carried but needs no tubing. You can google insulin pumps and get on line demos if you like. Any questions, let me know!

John Crowley
John CrowleyCA 2010-05-14 16:52:19 -0500 Report

Just to add to what Susan shared. The tubing that goes from the pump to the person is kind of like an IV tube you might have attached to you at the hospital. Every three days you have to move the site where the tubing is attached (otherwise the insulin doesn't absorb properly and your blood sugar will be high).

Inserting a new site for the tubing does involve a needle and it's a fairly good sized needle. However, it's only one needle every 3 days vs. multiple smaller needles every day. Some people are more than happy to make that trade off.

The tubeless pumps also must be moved to a new site every three days or so. They also use a needle to insert into the skin. It's just that the insulin reservoir is part of the site and the "computer" part that controls the pump is a wireless device that kind of looks like a PDA or Palm Pilot.

It can be a good option for younger kids. But it's not the only option.

And they're quite expensive.

I hope that helps you understand a little more.

KitKatt93 2010-05-14 21:51:12 -0500 Report

Hello John, that help very much thank you. I dont like the tubing part because Mays mentioned that she might want to pull on it, and she will. The tubeless pumps sound great! I have looked around but not seen a picture of those. I have heard they are expensive but if it is tubeless I might be able to talk my mom into it maybe when she is a little bit older at 2. I hate having to hear her when she sometimes crys when I give her shots even though shes getting much better with them.


KitKatt93 2010-05-14 22:38:38 -0500 Report

Hello Susan. My eyes skipped over your reply. Thankyou too for your information. I do like the sound of a tubeless pump :).