Sweet Life Magazine issue 12

Page 27

What is an insulin pump? • Insulin pumps are portable devices attached to the body that deliver constant amounts of rapid or short acting insulin via an infusion set. • The pump tries to mimic the release of insulin from a normal pancreas, but you have to tell it how much insulin to inject. • It delivers insulin in two ways: a basal rate which is a continuous, small trickle of insulin that keeps blood glucose stable between meals and overnight; and a bolus rate, which is a much higher rate of insulin taken before eating to “cover” the food you plan to eat or to correct a high blood glucose level. • Because the insulin pump stays connected to the body, it allows the wearer to change the amount of insulin they take with the press of a few buttons at any time of day. You can also program in a higher or lower rate of insulin delivery at a chosen time – when sleeping or doing sports, for instance.

(ACE-SA) guidelines. If you are, you will need a script to claim the pump through your medical aid, or buy it cash from one of the supplying pharmacies.

Where do you buy a pump and how much does it cost? You need to be a patient at one of the accredited pump centres in South Africa. Your doctor will decide if you are a pump candidate according to the Association of Clinical Endocrinologists of South Africa

At what age can you put a child on the pump and how easy is it for them to adapt? I would say at any age, but it’s best to get advice from your pediatric endocrinologist. Children often adapt the easiest of all age groups to insulin pump therapy.

Will my blood sugar control be better if I use a pump? It all depends on you. You can wear a pump and it can have no impact on your blood sugar. Or you can use a pump, and with the right settings, motivation and help from your healthcare team, you can have better blood sugar control. Will I still have to test my blood sugar as much? A pump patient needs to be a motivated patient who tests regularly, around 4 times a day. Are there insulin pumps that have a Continuous Glucose Meter attached? Yes there are – it’s a good idea to discuss with your healthcare team which pump would best suit your needs.

Special Feature

FAQ from our community:

Ask the expert: Dr Claudine Lee, GP with a passion for diabetes and pump therapy “Pump therapy is a beautiful and practical way of delivering insulin that tries to fit in with you, the patient, in terms of meals, exercise and illness, as well as just living a normal life.” 27