Insulin pumps

The most common way to take insulin therapy is via self-injection. However, some people with diabetes choose to take their insulin using an insulin pump instead. There are a number of potential reasons for this, for example:

A pump may fit their daily routine better

A pump may be easier than an injection if they are cared for by someone else

They may find a pump more discreet than an injection

The pump may provide them with a superior background insulin

Young type 1 patient (Charlie) standing by the tennis net with woman sitting next to him
Pump graphic

The idea of an insulin pump is that instead of delivering separate injections throughout the day, it releases insulin gradually over the course of the day, just like your body would naturally. This means a pump substitutes for background insulin. When it’s time for a meal, the pump is used to give a mealtime dose of insulin.

A pump is essentially made up of two parts:

A reservoir which holds the insulin;

A needle which sits under the skin.

The two parts are connected by a small, flexible tube. 

The pump is fitted onto a person’s lower abdomen and held in place with an adhesive patch, or worn in a belt around the waist, armband, bra or other accessory. The average pump is about the size of a pack of cards. It has a digital display screen, and buttons for programming – with a little training you’ll soon learn to use an insulin pump.

There are lots of different types of pumps available with different features. For example, some of the more modern pumps have touchscreens, or can connect wirelessly to a glucometer. Your doctor or nurse will be able to help you select a model that’s best suited to your needs and lifestyle.


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