Perspectives

What do insulin pumps offer in diabetes care?

Perspectives

What do insulin pumps offer in diabetes care?

Alicia J Jenkins, David N O’Neal

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Abstract

Insulin pumps are usually recommended by healthcare professionals and used by people with type 1 diabetes who desire to improve their blood glucose control and quality of life, and increase flexibility in their lifestyle and diet. Pump therapy can particularly benefit people with highly variable schedules, those who exercise or travel often, those who have recurrent severe hypoglycaemia events and/or reduced hypoglycaemia awareness, women desiring pregnancy, and the very young. A multidisciplinary clinical care team, including GPs, is required to support use of pump therapy.

Key Points

  • Over 10% of people in Australia with type 1 diabetes, in particular those under 25 years of age, choose insulin pump therapy rather than multiple daily insulin injections.
  • Careful patient selection and input by a multidisciplinary pump-experienced diabetes care team, including the GP, is required for optimal clinical benefit.
  • User or carer input, good carbohydrate counting skills and frequent home blood glucose monitoring are required to optimise glycaemic control.
  • Insulin pumps do not control glucose levels automatically and, although there are improvements, there are still significant demands on the patient.
  • Some insulin pumps can be integrated with a continuous glucose monitor, which measures interstitial fluid glucose levels.