Insulin pump therapy delivers continuous insulin support to diabetics. The insulin pump is a small device which is about the size of a small cell phone. The device is worn outside the body and delivers insulin through a small tube.
The end of the thin tube, called the cannula, is inserted under the skin. The cannula must be reinserted under the skin twelve times a month. A reinsertion of the cannula feels like a needle prick. The reinsertions of the cannula is generally preferred to daily injections.
The insulin pump delivers the amount of insulin that the diabetic patient deems necessary. A base rate of insulin is delivered to the body. This mimics the normal production of insulin by the pancreas in those without diabetes. When food is eaten, the insulin pump user programs the pump to provide the necessary amount of insulin.
The use of insulin pump therapy eliminates the need for daily multiple injections of insulin. One of the benefits is the freedom that this therapy offers to the diabetic. Administering insulin by multiple daily injections often requires that the diabetic follow a strict schedule. With the insulin pump, the need for a schedule is minimized if not entirely eliminated. People using insulin pump therapy are reported to have more dietary freedom and less risk of complications from diabetes such as eye, kidney, and nerve disease.
The insulin pump user needs only to program the doses of insulin that are necessary to control the blood glucose level. The base rate of insulin can be adjusted in preparation of exercise or in times of illness or infection. The delivery of a base rate of insulin helps the diabetic achieve a steady blood glucose level. The cost of insulin pump therapy is higher than using insulin injections. For diabetics who have difficulty regulating their blood glucose levels, the pump may be the healthier insulin delivery method.