Myth: Wearing an insulin pump will interfere with daily activities
Reality: There are certainly inconveniences associated with wearing a medical device 24/7, but most pump wearers find that the pump simplifies diabetes management so it interferes less with daily activities. The convenience and control that pumps offer far outweigh any drawbacks for most pump users. For instance, correcting a high blood sugar with a pump is much faster and more convenient than correcting with an insulin pen or syringe. Insulin pumps that connect with a tube can easily be disconnected from your body for swimming, showering, and exercising. Some pumps even have an integrated CGM that keeps you aware of high and low blood sugars to help you make corrections before they become a problem.
Myth: All insulin pumps are the same
Reality: There are a wide variety of pumps available on the market today. Some of the key differentiators that you may want to consider in choosing a pump include:
• Size of the insulin reservoir in the pump
• Number of compatible infusion sets
• Minimum and maximum basal and bolus increments
• Pump's ability to communicate with meter or CGM
• Water resistance
• Customer support and training available
It’s good to visit with your doctor and diabetes educator to find out which brand and model will give you the best chance to lower your A1C.
Myth: Pumps are only for people with type 1 diabetes
Reality: As more patients with type 2 diabetes have been prescribed insulin to lower blood sugars, insulin pumps have become a more viable option for those patients. Because the insulin pump mimics the slow release of insulin over time and allows for more precise dosage control, many healthcare providers prefer it over multiple daily injections. A recent study ran in five countries comparing the use of the Medtronic MiniMed pump to multiple daily injections in patients with type 2. The results showed that pump therapy decreased A1c by 1.1 percent compared to only 0.4 percent on multiple daily injections (MDI).
Myth: I don’t do well with new technology, so a pump is not for me
Reality: Just like with a smartphone, getting comfortable with a new device will take a little time. However, the basic functions of an insulin pump are very simple to master. Additionally, essentially all pump manufacturers provide one-on-one training with a diabetes educator for new patients. So, you’ll have someone right with you to get you set up and oriented with your new pump. Most patients quickly discover how this technology simplifies diabetes management rather than making it more complicated. For example, most pumps allow patients to input their insulin-to-carb ratio. Once that is entered in the pump, calculating a bolus is as simple as entering the number of carbs in the meal or snack. The pump does all the calculations automatically and keeps track of how much insulin you’ve received.
Myth: Insulin pumps give me insulin all day long, which may be too much insulin for me
Reality: Insulin pumps allow for incredibly precise dosages. Many pumps can deliver insulin in increments as small as 0.025 units. A recent study of diabetes patients using the MiniMed insulin pump found that in comparison to patients administering insulin through MDI, the pump users took 20 percent less insulin on average. (Reznik Y., Cohen O., Aronson R., et al. Insulin pump treatment compared with multiple daily injections for treatment of type 2 diabetes (OpT2mise): a randomized open-label controlled trial. The Lancet. 2014;)
Myth: You still have to do shots with a pump, and it’s painful
Reality: An insulin pump does require an infusion set, which is inserted with a needle. Most patients report that the infusion set feels about the same as giving an insulin shot. However, the big difference is that you only need to insert an infusion set once every three days. By comparison, MDI add up to over 120 needlesticks per month. While with a pump, you would only have 12 needlesticks. That’s a 90 percent reduction.