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Insulin pump: what is it, how does it work and when is it indicated

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The insulin pump is a small computerized device that releases insulin continuously for 24 hours and in a very precise dose according to the needs of the person, being indicated in cases of type 1 or type 2 diabetes, because it works by imitating the functioning of the pancreas.

Generally, the pump uses fast-acting and/or short-acting insulin because the pump is programmed to deliver small amounts of insulin throughout the day, continuously to maintain blood sugar levels within normal ranges. See which are the types of insulin.

This device can be used on the waist or arm, connecting to the body by a small cannula with a flexible needle in the abdomen and only with the indication of an endocrinologist. In addition, its use must be guided by a nurse or diabetes educator.



when is indicated

The insulin pump is indicated for the treatment of type 1 or type 2 diabetes, in cases where the body’s insulin production is not sufficient to control blood sugar levels. In this way, the insulin pump is indicated in the following situations:

  • Difficulty forgetting to place insulin injections;
  • Inadequate control of blood glucose levels, even with the use of insulin injections;
  • Wide variations in blood sugar levels during the day;
  • Blood glucose levels above 140 to 160 mg/dL;
  • Difficulty controlling nocturnal blood glucose;
  • Frequent or severe hypoglycemia attacks;
  • Need to have a better quality of life;
  • Gestational diabetes;
  • Management of diabetes in women who wish to become embarrassed.

This pump allows better control of blood glucose, as it offers a constant flow of insulin, in precise doses, so it is not necessary to use insulin injections during the day, being in addition a more comfortable option for the treatment of diabetes.

How does the insulin pump work

The insulin pump has a chamber that administers insulin continuously for 24 hours through a flexible tube or cannula, with a catheter inserted under the skin of the abdomen. This catheter must be replaced every 2 or 3 days, and during the first few days it is normal to feel a little discomfort in the skin where it was inserted.

The pump is approximately the size of a cell phone and releases insulin in a continuous and programmed manner, as if it were the pancreas, which allows for better control of blood sugar. However, even with the use of the pump, it is important to control the blood glucose levels during the day, at least 4 times a day or according to the doctor’s indications.



Another option is to use an insulin pump with a glucose monitor, in which case the device checks the blood sugar levels 24 hours a day and activates an alarm when the glucose levels are too low or too high, according to the levels blood glucose normals.

Before starting to use the insulin pump, the person must receive training on how to use the pump from a nurse or a diabetes educator.

possible complications

Some complications that can occur while using the insulin pump are:

  • Hyperglycemia;
  • Hypoglycemia;
  • Diabetic ketoacidosis;
  • Skin infection where the catheter is inserted.

In addition, other situations, such as the malfunction of the pump, the disconnection of the cannula or the incorrect configuration of the pump, are also factors that can affect the administration of insulin, which increases the risk of complications. Therefore, it is important to carry out the training before starting to use the insulin pump, in order to guarantee its correct functioning to receive the adequate dose of insulin.

Where to buy the insulin pump

The insulin pump can be purchased directly from the manufacturer, which can be Medtronic, Roche with the Accu-Chek system, Animas or Omnipod, for example.

In some Latin American countries, the infusion pump and its materials can be purchased through the public health system, and must be requested by an endocrinologist

Verified by RJ9823 – Public Utility – cc2.0

Consult a Doctor | Translated by User2937

Content for educational purposes only

The translator user relied on the following text:

Tua Saude Website – REF93782 – Verified

Disclaimer – (English version>) This content has been prepared based on information from research, additional publications, or the translation/verification work of a volunteer editor of this web council. This is a non-profit service. It is strongly recommended that all details and information published be carefully verified. We never allow medication recommendations, medication package inserts or any medication guidance. We never allow partisan politics as information.

Isenção de responsabilidade – (versão em português): Este conteúdo foi preparado com base em informações de pesquisas, publicações adicionais ou no trabalho de tradução/verificação de um editor voluntário deste conselho web. Este é um serviço sem fins lucrativos. É altamente recomendável que todos os detalhes e informações publicadas sejam verificadas cuidadosamente. Nunca permitimos recomendações de medicamentos, bulas ou qualquer orientação sobre medicamentos. Nunca permitimos a política partidária como base para checagem. Para mais informações, leia nossos termos.

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