Insulin Pump For Diabetes Mellitus

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What is an insulin pump?

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The insulin pump is a device for continuous insulin delivery. An insulin pump is composed of a pump reservoir similar to that of an insulin cartridge, a battery-operated pump, and a computer chip that allows the user to control the exact amount of insulin being delivered.

How big is an insulin pump?

Currently, pumps on the market are about the size of a standard communications beeper.

How does an insulin pump work?

The typical insulin pump is attached to a thin plastic tube (an infusion set) that has a soft cannula (or plastic needle) at the end through which insulin passes. This cannula is inserted under the skin, usually on the abdomen. The cannula is changed every two days. The tubing can be disconnected from the pump while showering or swimming. The pump is used for continuous insulin delivery, 24 hours a day. The amount of insulin is programmed and is administered at a constant rate (basal rate). Often, the amount of insulin needed over the course of 24 hours varies depending on factors like exercise, activity level, and sleep.

The insulin pump allows the user to program many different basal rates to allow for variation in lifestyle. In addition, the user can program the pump to deliver a bolus (large dose of insulin) during meals to cover the excess demands of carbohydrate ingestion.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/26/2013

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Insulin Pump - Experience Question: Please describe the type of insulin pump you use, and your experience with the pump.

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