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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Pumping Insulin

Here are most of the Good and Bad points of pumping Insulin. Keep in mind that ALL of these Pros and Cons will not happen to or for ALL Diabetics. For example: Not ALL Diabetics' Insulin doses will be reduced. Example: Not ALL Diabetics will gain weight. These are generalized Pros and Cons that have the possibility of happening. Some Diabetics say that they have experienced no problems at all, which is Terrific.

PROS:

*Injections Are Less And Easier since they are only applied every 2 or 3 days and the
other doses are push button.
*More flexible sleep/wake/meal times and not having to plan exercise, outings, etc.
*Less problems with health due to better control.
*More freedom with food since it is easier to eat exactly what you want, when you want.
*Insulin Reduction is found by most People.
*No long-acting insulin is used which is a plus.
*Better control for the majority using the pump.
*Suspension of insulin delivery is possible if the Person has bolused too much Insulin.
*Most Dawn Phenomenon Can Be Remedied.
*Hypo Unawareness can be lessened on the pump or reversed for many People.
*A couple of pumps are controlled by remote, not tubing. They also can have the
CGMS/meters attached which are assets.
*Some Diabetics will experience improvement or reversal of some Complications
(depending upon the stage of) due to better and more consistant blood sugars
levels/A1c's.

CONS:

*Increased risk of DKA due to pump malfunction or other problems. Some also suffer
from hypoglycemia due to improper carb counting, incorrect bolusing, etc.
*Unhealthy eating and weight gain can occur due to ease of pump use.
*Some People forget to bolus.
*Painful sites, irritations, infections, poor absorbtion can occur.
*Gushers and bruises occur occasionally.
*With many Diabetics bumps, scar tissue and poor absorption does occur at the site.
*Changing a set is more of a nuisance than syringe injections.
*Pumps, infusion sets, etc. are a bit expensive if the Person does not have coverage.
*More Frequent testing of blood glucose is required.
*A percentage of People carry pump accessories with them plus syringes/pens and
Insulin in case a pump/site problem occurs.
*Some Medical professionals are not informed about pumps and will request that the
Diabetic remove the pump or will do it themselves if the Patient is unconscious or
unable to cooperate.
*A small percentage of Diabetics are not able to stay attached to a pump 24/7.
* The tubing from most pumps can get caught on door/drawer knobs and
other objects. They can become disconnected sometimes when a Person is sleeping,
etc. Tubing can get chewed up by pets. It can also become kinked or an occlusion
may occur so that Insulin cannot be delivered to the Diabetic.
*The outer field of pumps can crack and get wet inside if submersed in water. Screens
can get scratched.
*Some People may disconnect to take a shower/go swimming, etc. and then forget to
reconnect their pump.
*Sometimes blood or bubbles collect in the tubing. That may or may not be a problem.
 

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Hypo Unawareness can be lessened on the pump or reversed for many People.
I wonder how that one works? Can't understand how that could happen. Hypos are super sneaky.

It might not be important anyway. Pumps totally baffle me and seem like the dark ages compared to syringes. I was just going through the info here wondering if I'm missing something important about them. It's like an injection but you just leave the needle in. They are going to have a hard time selling me that.

That reminds me of another part of the post which I already deleted, but I'll just quote it here. '*No long-acting insulin is used which is a plus.'

Compared to leaving something through your skin permanently, I'd say a longer acting insulin is an incredible plus. The pump would be the minus.

Of course there is room for a lot of individual opinions and experiences and I haven't even tried one, so I'm not trying to be a source of info here.

I work weekends and it has been a long day. Think I'm going to change my forum user name to 'baffled' then make friends with :confused: , then turn in for the night.

sincerely,
baffled
 

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I used a pump for 6 years and had all sorts of pros and cons. the info that Terrie posted is correct, obviouslly there is some room for opinion on some of the points.
the pump is a 24hr worn device, but you can always take it off and go back to needles thats fine.
the hypo awarness thing i got no opinion on that.
the pump can work very well. you do get used to it pritty quick. most people have a cell phone on them everyday and night, so its not to out landish in that regard. having a tube stuck to you is a little different but still really easy.
one problem which is big for me is i have a fairly lean body. i dont got much space. the pump sites leave a bigger damege area then needles do. so i have stopped using it for the time being.
for anyone who is lean be very proper with site changes. you dont want to get resistive areas it will drive you mad.
all in all thou i do recomend it.
 

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I respectfully disagree with the hypo unawareness point. I have hypo unawareness and have been on a pump for almost two years - the hypo unawareness has not changed one iota. I believe my problem stems from two sources: 1) chronic high blood glucose levels and 2) side effect of high blood pressure medicine. If my doctor would ever give me a different BP medicine, then maybe my hypo unawareness would get better.......until then.....no such luck.
 
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I did MDI for 36 years before I got a pump and the whole time I was on MDI I felt more tied down than I ever have on a pump. I can now eat when I want to eat not when some peaky basal insulin says I need too. I would dread the ever having to go back on MDI. As far as hypounawareness I know mine is never going to come back no matter what I do but thats whole other story all in itself.
 

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I told my husband they were going to have to pry my pump out of my cold dead hands :p

I love the flexibility! I can eat when I want. I can dose for what I eat..not eat to match my dose. If I dont want to eat three meals a day I dont have to...if I just want to graze and have small snacks all day I can do that too. To me...the benefits far outweigh the negatives.
 
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Good post Pam! I agree with all that you said. I love the fact that we pumpers can schedule varying basal rates throughout the day and night. Doing that completely eliminated my DP problem. How about you?
 

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Good post Pam! I agree with all that you said. I love the fact that we pumpers can schedule varying basal rates throughout the day and night. Doing that completely eliminated my DP problem. How about you?
Oh yes, I struggled for years with DP...once I got on the pump and my basal rates sorted out...its gone.
 

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2 weeks and counting

Two weeks into the pump we are still tweaking basal rates, sensitivity and carb ratios - all very daunting! My trainer started me off super low as I am highly sensitive to insulin, but it was too low (basal rate 6.5) and I have been experimenting since to reach a workable level. In addition, my BG does not act the same way every day - some days and periods run higher than others. So far I'm finding it challenging and somewhat depressing. DO NOT like being tethered with tubing! How long before we enjoy the 'flexibility' promised? Any other pump newbies out there? How long does it take to get through tweaking?

Please share your stories,
 

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Welcome to the active board, Vasuzie . . . you've been a member for a long time without ever posting. Good to hear from you & you have all my best wishes for a smooth transition to your pump. :)
 

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Hi Vasuzie, welcome aboard! I was born and grew up in Roanoke, VA. I love VA, but am now living in NY. :rolleyes:

I used injections for 62 years, and I have pumped for the last three years. It took me almost three months to get my basals, ratios and sensitivities going smoothly. After that three months I had the best control I have ever had. I keep very thorough records and am tweaking a few times every week, even now. Be sure to do "basal testing" and get the basals going smoothly. That has first priority in the beginning stages of pumping. Rotate your sites and use different body parts so you will not have any trouble with scar tissue.

Have you purchased a copy of "Pumping Insulin" by John Walsh? It is a great book. I bought mine from amazon.com.

Good luck with your pumping in the weeks ahead! Let us know how it is going.

Richard :)
 

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Richard, at what point does a person no longer need insulin?
A A1C score of 5,4 seems normal to me. I don't know what normal is. My scores have been up to 8.0
 

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A diabetic who uses insulin will always have to use it. My 5.4 A1c is possible only because I use my insulin correctly. If I stopped the insulin my blood sugar would be so high, and I would be hospitalized in a coma in a few days time. My pancreas does not produce insulin (type 1) so my pumping insulin compensates for that, and gives me good health.
 

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Thanks

My A1C will be lower now as I am on insulin. I am unsure what you meant when you said your A1c was low because you knew how to use insulin correctly. I am using insulin the way my doctor has told me to do. So I am confused.

I did have a friend; a type 2 lose a great deal of weight and no longer has to use insulin or medication.
 

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weaveroflight, I have looked at many of your posts and I don't think you have ever said whether you are type 1, or type 2. Since you are using Lantus and Humulin I assumed you are type 1. Of course I realize many type 2 diabetics use insulin too.

Since I thought you were a type 1 and I saw your numbers are good, I assumed you are using carb counting to determine your insulin dosages before meals. The Humulin is Humulin R, right? That is a faster acting insulin that can be used before meals to prevent after meal spikes. I use 1 unit for every 6 carbs I eat. That keeps me from having high blood sugar after eating. That is how I use carb counting. Type 1 diabetics who use carb counting correctly usually have good control.

If I am mistaken, and you are not type 1, I can see why you are confused. I'm sorry if I caused the confusion.
 

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I am a type 2

I recently needed 2 insulins and it is upsetting to me. I would love to be exercising, walking or just to be able to be out of bed due to MS. I guess I am sensitive.

Richard I don't know any type 1's. My friend is a type 2 whose was able to get off insulin. I was able to get off it once before when my MS was doing OK. That is my goal once again.
 

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new pumper too!

Two weeks into the pump we are still tweaking basal rates, sensitivity and carb ratios - all very daunting! My trainer started me off super low as I am highly sensitive to insulin, but it was too low (basal rate 6.5) and I have been experimenting since to reach a workable level. In addition, my BG does not act the same way every day - some days and periods run higher than others. So far I'm finding it challenging and somewhat depressing. DO NOT like being tethered with tubing! How long before we enjoy the 'flexibility' promised? Any other pump newbies out there? How long does it take to get through tweaking?

Please share your stories,
Hi There,
I am also new to pumping, about 4 weeks now! Finding it much easier to have the thing attached 24/7 but still not 100% in love with it!! Also still tweaking everything to get all those settings correct which I think will take time and yes may need constant adjusting as as you say, levels can change daily for seemingly no known reason! Good luck and keep me posted on your progress! Woudl be interested to hear your story. Sharon
 

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You know what's funny? I had no hypo awareness before my pump (I did as a child, but as I got older it went away to where I rarely knew that I was low, but others would know), but after my pump, my hypo awareness came back. It's not 100%, but I can tell sometimes when my blood sugar is at 75. Usually lower, though. It's good to be able to know again.

I wonder how that one works? Can't understand how that could happen. Hypos are super sneaky.

It might not be important anyway. Pumps totally baffle me and seem like the dark ages compared to syringes. I was just going through the info here wondering if I'm missing something important about them. It's like an injection but you just leave the needle in. They are going to have a hard time selling me that.

That reminds me of another part of the post which I already deleted, but I'll just quote it here. '*No long-acting insulin is used which is a plus.'

Compared to leaving something through your skin permanently, I'd say a longer acting insulin is an incredible plus. The pump would be the minus.

Of course there is room for a lot of individual opinions and experiences and I haven't even tried one, so I'm not trying to be a source of info here.

I work weekends and it has been a long day. Think I'm going to change my forum user name to 'baffled' then make friends with :confused: , then turn in for the night.

sincerely,
baffled
 

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I can now eat when I want to eat not when some peaky basal insulin says I need too.
I love the flexibility! I can eat when I want. I can dose for what I eat..not eat to match my dose. If I dont want to eat three meals a day I dont have to...if I just want to graze and have small snacks all day I can do that too. To me...the benefits far outweigh the negatives.
I've been wondering about this for a long time so I guess I might as well ask. Lantus didn't work for either of you? It does seem to be very individual. Some people have mentioned it stinging. It might also vary in the time that it lasts for people. But I've never read of it having a peak. It doesn't for me.

I just use 5 units of it in the morning, and that covers me until bed time. That's about a third of a unit an hour, so I never have to eat to supply that basal dose with sugar. Some people use very high doses of it and have it cover some of their food. That seems awkward to me. Then you do have to eat to your insulin. My understanding is that you only want enough so that your liver knows there is insulin in your blood. That little bit also seems to be enough to cover the stray kidney and liver processes that add sugar to blood.

That leaves me completely free to eat whenever I want and as many or as few times as I want. I just inject a rapid insulin to balance the meal. If I want to have something more after I am finished, I just inject again.

Is there some other complication I'm not aware of that makes this kind of injection system not work for some people? To me it seems the best of both worlds. Free to eat at any time, and free from pumps and tubing.
 
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