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About Insulin Pump Therapy

Treatment with Insulin Pump Therapy replaces the body’s naturally produced insulin.  This allows glucose, protein and fat metabolism to return to normal and blood glucose levels to be stabilised. 

Remember, Insulin Pump Therapy isn't suitable for everyone and it requires considerable effort in the early days and weeks.

What is an Insulin Pump?

An insulin pump is a small device that delivers basal (background) insulin requirements continuously in very small amounts throughout the 24 hour period.

Only rapid acting insulin is delivered via a tube and cannula inserted into the sub-cutaneous tissue.

Background insulin is known as basal insulin.  The basal rates on the pump can be programmed to give higher or lower doses of insulin at different times of the day.  For example, sometimes hormones can cause blood glucose levels to rise in the early morning causing Dawn Phenomenon.  A higher basal rate can be used for a few hours to provide extra insulin where this is needed..  It is important to get your basal rate right.  Click on the link below for more information on ‘Checking your Basal Rate’ 

Additional insulin doses, known as ‘boluses’, are given by the pump user by pressing the buttons on the pump.  For example, when they are eating or if their blood glucose level is too high a corrective dose may be given.  This would be done in accordance with advice from your diabetes team.

Advantages of Pump Therapy:

  • Improved blood glucose control
  • 60% less hypo’s
  • Reduction in HbA1c
  • Fewer fluctuations in blood glucose
  • More stable blood glucose levels over the day
  • Improved Quality of Life
  • Increased flexibility – do what you want, when you want
  • Increased food flexibility
  • Increase in wellbeing – less up’s and down’s in blood glucose making you feel better, more energy
  • Improvement in diabetes control can be sustained with the required effort

Disadvantages to Pump Therapy:

  • Wearing a pump 24/7 – keeping it discrete
  • Wearing a cannula and remembering when to change it
  • Being at risk of producing ketones more quickly when on an insulin pump as you have no background insulin

Checking your Basal Rate

Need More Help?

The CHOICE diabetes education programme is available in NI and the border counties of Republic of Ireland, ask your Diabetes Team

Choice Programme