People with type 1 diabetes who use an insulin pump are 50 per cent less likely to die from cardiovascular disease, a new study suggests.
Swedish researchers from the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg monitored over 18,000 Swedes on the National Diabetes Register between 2005 and 2012.
All of the patients had type 1 diabetes, with 2,441 of the subjects using insulin pump therapy. The other patients were treated with multiple daily injections.
Insulin pump users were found to have a significantly lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, which lead researcher Dr. Isabelle Steineck suggested may be because insulin pump therapy involves extensive patient education and blood glucose monitoring.
“There is a rationale for insulin pump treatment resulting in more stable blood glucose concentrations than multiple daily injections,” said Steineck.
“We evaluated the patients who used insulin pump therapy and do not know if the observed effect is attributable to continuous infusion of insulin or that some of the effect is attributable to intensified glucose monitoring, increased motivation to control blood glucose, or a better knowledge about having diabetes type 1.”
The researchers still need to identify why there are reported benefits of insulin pump therapy, and the findings should not be cause for concern among type 1 patients on multiple daily injections.
Maintaining good control of blood glucose levels is a priority for all patients with diabetes, and Soffia Gudbjörnsdottir, Director of the Swedish National Diabetes Register, added: “This is good news for anyone with type 1 diabetes. But not everybody wants to use a pump, and the biggest priority is still to optimize blood glucose monitoring.”
The results of this study were published in The BMJ.

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