What is an insulin pump?

An insulin pump is a small computer that delivers insulin to the body through a small catheter, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

The pump works in two ways, according to the ADA:

  • by pumping a steady, continuous dose of insulin, called basal insulin
  • by pumping a surge dose of insulin – called bolus insulin – around mealtime at your direction

A small needle is used to insert the catheter through the skin into a fatty layer of your midsection and then taped into place so the pump device, which is about the size of a pager, can be worn, according to the ADA.

Using an insulin pump gives the body insulin in a way most similar to the pancreas, according to the ADA. For that reason, many people prefer a pump because it gives them better control of their blood sugar than injections.

Talk to your doctor for more information about insulin pumps.

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