Some people with type 1 diabetes will be offered the choice of staying on multiple daily injections or starting on an insulin pump

We look at some benefits and disadvantages of insulin pumps and multiple injections.

Benefits of insulin pumps

  • Insulin pumps: Cannulas are put into the skin every few days
  • Injections: Injections are needed several times a day.
  • Insulin pumps: Press buttons to deliver a dose at each meal or snack.
  • Injections: Need to inject for each meal and some snacks.
  • Insulin pumps: Basal insulin can be turned off or reduced during and after sports
  • Injections: Any changes to basal insulin needs to be done up to several hours in advance
  • Insulin pumps: Basal insulin is constantly delivered.
  • Injections: Need to remember to inject background insulin at specific times of the day.
  • Insulin pumps: Pumps can be programmed to deliver more insulin at certain times of the day, even when asleep if required.
  • Injections: Any increase in insulin must be injected manually.

Benefits of injections

  • Insulin pumps: Can only be disconnected for short periods of time.
  • Injections: Need only appear when an injection is needed.
  • Insulin pumps: Can occasionally have issues, such as air bubbles , which can adversely affect blood glucose levels.
  • Injections: Can also suffer from air bubbles is generally less of a problem.
  • Insulin pumps: Tubing can sometimes get caught on objects such as door handles, if tubing is not kept covered.
  • Injections: No tubing.
  • Insulin pumps: Have a steeper initial learning curve to adjust to using and caring for a pump.
  • Injections: Less complicated to learn to use and maintain insulin pens.

Views from people with diabetes

In most cases, people on the diabetes forum who are on insulin pump therapy are pleased to have made the switch onto pumps, with many reporting that blood glucose control has become a lot more manageable.

However, some people prefer to stay on insulin injections and others who have gone onto an insulin pump have stated that the pump has not helped their diabetes control as much as they were expecting.

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