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Teenagers and Insulin Pumps: New Generations

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Teenagers and Insulin Pumps: New Generations

Teenagers and Insulin Pumps: New Generations

March 25, 2008

By: Dan Weiman for Diabetes1

Contemporary medicine has led us to a new front in the treatment of diabetes; electronic insulin pumps are fast becoming popular, effective, and preferred to the traditional treatment method for diabetes, insulin shots. As insulin pumps have very recently come into prominence, a new generation is beginning to see insulin pumps as a normal, conventional, and overall easier way to treat their diabetes.  

The attraction to insulin pumps is simple. Because of the pump’s ability to perform blood sugar calculations electronically and automatically, there is less of a concern over constantly monitoring with a handheld device and lancet. The pump also allows the user to eat more comfortably and sleep more flexibly because if its regulatory features.

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Tips for Successful Insulin Pump Use:
  • Maintain good eating habits – using a pump is not an excuse to eat whatever and whenever you want.
  • Periodically check your blood sugar independently as a check against the pump.
  • Discuss questions or concerns with your healthcare team and parents.
  • While traveling, have a backup plan in place in case your pump fails or is lost.
  • However, with the convenience of the pump there are also a few concerns. While insulin pumps have certainly made life easier for those using them, there is a worry that simplifying treatment may diminish an inherent responsibility diabetics have to monitor their blood sugar and lead a healthy lifestyle. This concern is especially strong for teenagers, who often can act irresponsibly and ignore what is best for their health. Also, embarrassment over being a diabetic could lead one to take off the pump, which is extremely dangerous unless it is absolutely necessary. Also, there is also the cost factor, which is in the thousands of dollars for a single pump. Breaking an insulin pump could mean going back to traditional monitoring since many families could not afford multiple pumps.

    To minimize the risks involved in using an insulin pump, it’s important to talk to your teenager about the proper use of the pump and discuss tips for leading a healthy lifestyle. It is critical that teens make responsible choices about drinking alcohol, which can dangerously raise blood sugar levels and cause negligence; have a good relationship with their doctor, so that they do not feel pressure not to discuss potentially embarrassing, but critical issues; and maintain a good relationship with their parents to help provide them with the right resources to effectively treat their diabetes. Insulin pumps could be the most effective way to treat diabetes, but responsibility is key in using them.

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