Teenagers and Insulin Pumps

Say goodbye to injections with an insulin pump
Say goodbye to injections with an insulin pump

If you want to be diabetes ninja, an insulin pump is the way to go. It is possible to get a very good control on injections but you may find you need to do more than 4 injections a day to get there.

With an insulin pump, you can take insulin as and when you need without the issue of having to prick yourself for your troubles.

Reasons why people love their insulin pumps

A lot of people who receive insulin pumps quickly love their insulin pumps for some of the following reasons:

  • No more injections each day
  • Flexibility over when you eat
  • Flexibility over how many carbs you eat
  • Taking insulin is no longer a big deal
  • You can easily adjust your basal (background) insulin
  • You can achieve great control

No more daily injections

Whichever way you look at it, injections are a pain. On injections, most of the time you want to eat, you know you're going to need to jab yourself. Sometimes that's ok but just about everyone who's been on injections has thought "if I only I could have one day without the sight of a needle!".

With a pump, that becomes a reality. Sure, you need to change the cannula every 3 days or so but you can pick a convenient time to do this.

Eat when it suits you

Injections regimens work best when you are able to keep to a routine but sometimes we want to be able to change our routine from day to day.

Sometimes we want a lie in, say at weekends, and don't want to have to get up at 7:30 in the morning to put that morning shot in. Insulin pumps are much, much better at adapting to this.

Flexibility over the carbs you eat

How many of us have been in a situation where we've gone out to a restaurant and been faced with a whole load of guess work. How many carbs is going to be in the meal? Should I inject before the starter or wait 'til the main course comes. Will it be worth injecting for both courses?

On an insulin pump, this isn't a big issue. You can take insulin as you go through the meal, making any corrections depending on your appetite.

Taking insulin is no big deal

As the above example shows, life on an insulin pump means there's no issue of whether it's worth taking a shot. If you think you need a bit more insulin you can give yourself an extra dose without much hassle at all. This can easily be done whilst travelling, in class or at a restaurant.

The one note of caution to bear in mind is that if you put in an extra dose of insulin close to a previous dose of insulin, to bear in mind that the first dose will be active. If the strength of the two doses together is underestimated, it could lead to a hypo.

Easily adjust basal insulin

A great feature of insulin pumps is the chance to pre-programme different rates of background insulin. This can be particularly helpful whilst sleeping.

With injections of basal insulin, once you've put in your dose, you're stuck with that dose for the rest of the day.

With insulin pumps you can adjust your insulin requirements there and then, so if you've had a very active day, you can switch to a lower rate of insulin to avoid going hypo.

Achieve great control

When you add these advantages together, it's not too surprising that insulin pumps usually lead to much better control of blood sugar levels.

To help you get the most out of your pump, you will need to invest time into understanding how each of its features work and you will need to build a strong understanding of carbohydrate counting.