Survey shows insulin pumps becoming more popular for type 1 diabetes

by Sarita Sheth on September 14, 2012

More people are starting on a pump sooner after diagnosis

Using an insulin pump helps diabetes sufferers as they find it easier to use and it helps them to have a better control of their diabetes, a study suggests.

The use of insulin pumps to manage Type 1 diabetes is increasing and more people are starting on a pump sooner after diagnosis, according to a report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

Young people and women are the most likely users of insulin pumps which deliver insulin under the skin and are controlled by the users. They are becoming more popular as an alternative to the more traditional method of injecting insulin several times a day.

The report, Insulin pump use in Australia, shows that at 30 June 2011 there were 10,510 insulin pump users in Australia, representing 10% of people with type 1 diabetes. The report shows almost 50% of all insulin pump users were under 25 years old and over 60% were female.

‘Between 2004 and 2010, the number of new insulin pump users with type 1 diabetes rose from an average of 107 to 140 per month,’ said AIHW spokesperson Susana Senes.

‘People with Type 1 diabetes now begin using insulin pump therapy relatively sooner after diagnosis than in the past. In 1997, less than 1% began using an insulin pump within two years of diagnosis but in 2009, this had risen to 18%,’ she added.

Users’ experiences with insulin pumps were mainly positive, with the benefits of pump use outweighing any problems.

Some 88% of users said that their motivation for choosing a pump was better control of diabetes and 86% of users said the main benefit of pump use was the ease with which it fitted in with their lifestyle.

Despite these benefits, the costs associated with insulin pump use may be a barrier for many and just under one third of pump users surveyed expressed concerns about the cost of a pump and the monthly ongoing costs.

‘We also found that insulin pump use was more common among people living in areas of high socioeconomic status, with 14% of people with Type 1 diabetes in these areas using a pump, compared to 6% in areas of low socioeconomic status,’ Senes said.

Insulin pump use also varied regionally, with the highest proportion of pump users among people with type 1 diabetes occurring in the Australian Capital Territory and the lowest in the Northern Territory.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

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