Although diabetes is completely manageable, administering multiple insulin injections on a daily basis can be tedious. In cases like these, an insulin pump may be used as an alternative means of insulin administration. To determine if a pump is a viable treatment option for you, read on and then discuss the information with your doctor.
What is an Insulin Pump?
An insulin pump is a small electronic device that is programmed to administer customized doses of insulin. It can administer the dose directly into the body, eliminating the need to constantly carry insulin supplies.
While the pump offers a means of delivering insulin without the constant need to carry supplies and set up your insulin injections, it isn't completely hands-off. Insulin pump users still have to monitor their blood sugar and stay on a diabetic-healthy diet to ensure that insulin is kept at an optimal level.
How Do Insulin Pumps Work?
Insulin pumps can't replace the pancreas, but they do serve to release insulin into the body based on your body's needs. Your health care provider can assist you in selecting and programming the best delivery schedule for your needs.
Basal insulin delivery will administer a steady dose continuously. These doses are meant to keep your blood sugar within a healthy range over the course of each day.
A bolus delivery administers a surge of insulin around mealtime. This type of dosing works to account for the carbohydrates in a meal. This can be prescheduled or administered as needed by pressing a button on your insulin pump. This type of dosing ensures that your body is equipped with the insulin it needs to process the carbohydrates eaten.
Lastly, a supplemental dose can be used to cover for any additional insulin needs throughout the day. Your physician can help you to determine when and how to use the supplemental feature to stay healthy.
How Are Insulin Pumps Maintained?
In addition to programming the pump to suit your individual medical needs, you'll also need to maintain the pump and injection site. The insulin reservoir on the pump will need to be replenished with new insulin to allow for programmed delivery. Additionally, you'll need to clean and change the injection site every couple of days to stave off infection.
How Much Does an Insulin Pump Cost?
Insulin pumps can range in cost from $4,500 to $6,500, for those without insurance to pay for the device. Individuals with insurance may pay between $5 and $3,250, depending on the co-pays determined by their insurance company. In addition to the cost of the pump, you'll need to cover the costs of supplemental supplies such as insulin reserves, new needles, new catheters, pump bodies, and infusion sets.