An insulin pump is a device that delivers insulin 24 hours a day through a thin tube called a catheter that is placed under the skin. It can help your child manage his or her diabetes by helping your child keep blood sugar levels within the target range. People of all ages with diabetes use insulin pumps.
The pump delivers different types of insulin doses:
Basal insulin is delivered continuously over 24 hours. It keeps blood glucose levels in the proper range between meals and overnight. If needed, you can program the pump to deliver different amounts of insulin for different times of the day and night.
When your child eats, pushing a button on the insulin pump can give more insulin. This is called a bolus. A bolus is insulin that can be delivered on demand to match the carbohydrate in a meal or snack. If your child eats more than planned, simply program a larger bolus of insulin to cover it.
A bolus can also be used to treat high blood sugar levels. If your child has high blood sugar before eating, a bolus of insulin can bring the blood sugar back to your child's target range.
An insulin pump can be worn in a pump case or it can be attached to a waistband, pocket, bra, sock, or underwear. You can tuck any excess tubing into the waistband of underwear or pants.
When your child sleeps, the pump can be worn on a waistband, armband, or leg band, or it can be clipped to a blanket, stuffed toy, or pillow.
Insulin pumps are water resistant, but they should not be put directly in the water. The pumps have a disconnect port for activities, such as swimming, bathing, or showering. This allows you or your child to disconnect the pump from the catheter during such activities.
Your child can still have fun when using an insulin pump. While exercising or playing, your child can wear an armband or an elastic waistband with a pump case. In some cases your child may not be allowed to wear any devices because falling on the pump could hurt your child. In this case, your child may need to take the insulin pump off during an activity. Make sure that your child understands that he or she must not go longer than 1 to 2 hours without any insulin. Your child should check blood sugar every 2 to 3 hours while the pump is disconnected because the blood sugars and ketone levels could go up while your child is not getting insulin.
Some benefits of using an insulin pump are:
The disadvantages of an insulin pump are: