Insulin Pump Therapy - The Bad
In our last article we spoke about some of the benefits to insulin pump therapy. Some of the positive results include better control over blood glucose levels, flexibility with your lifestyle and an easier regimen.
While using the pump does offer these benefits there are some drawbacks to this therapy option for diabetics.
For one the cost can be very high. An insulin pump alone comes with a $5,000 price tag. Some might be able to pay this one time fee however it is also expensive to maintain the pump. For several months of usage the pump’s supplies will cost�over a�thousand dollars. For those without insurance this cost is probably too high to afford. And those with insurance may find that they have a high co-pay for pump supplies. So the first drawback one may encounter is the cost.
While trying to mimic the way your pancreas works when it produces insulin the pump has yet another drawback. That drawback is its location, outside of your body. While insulin pumps themselves are made very durable other outside influences could cause problems. For instance during times of activity, playing and sports movement or sweat could cause the infusion set that is attached to your body to slide off. If this occurs the insulin the pump is giving you will not get into your body. This could happen without you knowing. The only way you would find out is through an investigation of why your blood glucose has gone so high.
Another�area in which to focus on is cosmetic. Wearing the pump you realize that except for brief moments you must stay attached to the pump 24 hours a day seven days a week. For most people this takes an adjustment and a little getting used to. However some have decided that having the pump attached to them at all times imposed too much. Therefore they decided to go off the pump. While this represents a small percentage of those who have used insulin pumps it may be wise to consider your feelings on this matter.
The final drawback we will consider is the risk of ketoacidosis. Because of the type of insulin that is used within insulin pumps, short acting insulin, any disruption of insulin would result in an immediate risk. Generally within a few hours of being disconnected a diabetic using an insulin pump would be without any insulin in his body. That would result in a rapidly increasing blood glucose level which would turn into an episode of ketoacidosis if not corrected quickly. Disruptions could occur by kinks in the insulin pump tubing, infusion set disconnect or rare malfunction of the insulin pump. (It should be noted that insulin pumps are programmed with many safety checks.)
While many of these dangers are not something that insulin pump users deal with on a regular basis it is more than likely an insulin pump user will experience some of these possible effects. The key to minimizing such dangers is the need to constantly monitor yourself.
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