If you’re living with diabetes, you’ve probably thought about getting an insulin pump. It can be a big step in managing your condition, but it’s also just one option out of many in the world of diabetes technology. There are multiple types of insulin pumps, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. They’ll cover each type below so that you know what to look for when shopping around for a pump.
Reservoir-based insulin pump
A reservoir-based insulin pump is one that has a reservoir, or cartridge, of insulin attached to the pump. The pump delivers short-acting (soluble) insulin from this reservoir through the tubing into your body via a cannula or needle. Reservoir-based pumps are much more portable than other types of pumps. If you’re going on vacation and don’t want to take multiple vials of long-acting basal and short-acting bolus (rapid-acting) insulins with you, a reservoir will do the trick!
As Tandem Diabetes states, “Insulin is delivered subcutaneously using the infusion sites.”
A closed-loop pump has a computer algorithm that automatically adjusts the level of insulin in the body to keep glucose levels within a range. The pump measures glucose levels continuously with a sensor and adjusts the amount of insulin delivered based on those measurements. If your blood sugar is too high, it may deliver more insulin; if it’s too low, it may deliver less or none at all.
In addition to making life easier for people with diabetes, this type of pump also helps prevent hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), which can occur when someone takes too much or not enough medication at once.
Hybrid closed-loop pump
A hybrid closed-loop pump combines a reservoir-based insulin pump and a smartphone pump. The system uses a small computer to monitor glucose levels and to adjust basal rates if needed automatically.
If you’re considering getting this type of pump, talk to your doctor about how it works, how you’ll get the best results for your needs, and what kind of lifestyle changes you need to make in order for it to be effective.
The most common insulin pump type is a traditional infusion set with a cannula (a small tube that sticks into your skin). You wear this setup until you have to change the cannula site (usually every few days), or until it runs out.
A smartphone pump is different because it’s a closed system: all you need to do is change the reservoir bag less frequently—every few weeks instead of daily.
You can wear the patch pump anywhere on your body. The pump has a small reservoir that holds insulin and monitors your blood glucose level (sugar). When it gets low, the pump releases extra insulin into your body to bring it back up again.
One of the most important things to remember about your insulin pump is that it is a tool to help you manage your diabetes. It’s not a cure, nor does it replace other medications or medical treatments for diabetes. So always talk with your doctor before making any changes to your insulin pump settings or medication plan, and always make sure you’re aware of all possible side effects or complications related to using an insulin pump.
James Martin is a passionate writer and the founder of OnTimeMagazines & EastLifePro. He loves to write principally about technology trends. He loves to share his opinion on what’s happening in tech around the world.