The decision to go on an insulin pump may seem overwhelming- take your time to do your research on the pumps available & always reach out to your healthcare provider for support. An insulin pump is essentially a device that is worn all the time which delivers rapid-acting insulin to cover the background insulin needs (basal) throughout the day & in bursts (bolus) to cover meals.
Am I really ready to start an insulin pump?
You may want to ask yourself the following questions before moving forward with pump therapy:
- Am I ready to wear a device everyday? Many pumps are the size of a pager or smaller. There are pumps which are connected to your body through a tube (Medtronic, Animas, & Roche) & another pump which is tubeless (Omnipod). There are many places where the pump can be worn such as on your belt, in your pocket, or within arm/leg bands. This is a barrier for many patients when considering the insulin pump, but most individuals feel that it is something they get used to over time just like anything else.
- Am I ready to make carbohydrate counting a part of my everyday routine? The pump gives you a very precise amount of insulin based on the carbohydrate content of the meal as well as the current blood sugar level. It is important to attend workshops & counselling sessions with your educator to learn the basics of carbohydrate counting to be successful on the pump. Remember— carbohydrate counting takes practice! Check out our resource here.
- Am I ready to check my blood sugar at least four times a day? The pump will not automatically result in perfect blood sugar levels- it is still important to be checking your sugar frequently and looking for patterns before making any adjustments to pump settings.
- Am I committed to regular follow up with my diabetes educator & physician? You want to make sure you are going for regular assessments with your diabetes team as they will help & support you every step of the way with pump therapy.
- I understand that a pump isn’t a cure for diabetes. I am hoping for improvement and flexibility, not perfection. There are many advantages of wearing an insulin pump, a few to mention are increased flexibility, fewer injections, less variability in blood sugar levels, and fewer episodes of hypoglycemia. However, it is best to think of a pump as simply a different and more flexible way to deliver your insulin – not as a way to achieve “perfect” blood sugar control.
Many people are successful on insulin pump therapy but it is important to note that the insulin pump is not for everyone.
Stay tuned for an upcoming post on a pre-pump checklist!