The new insulin pump therapy is a boon especially for parents whose children have juvenile diabetes.

Is your child unable to enjoy a normal life because of his/her diabetes? Uncontrolled diabetes invariably leads to other problems such as eye, heart disease or gangrene in feet. In a bid to control sugar levels many diabetics stick to regulated diet often abstaining from their favourite sweetmeats and other food items. Yet they find it hard to manage their blood glucose level in an effective and streamlined manner. In case of kids with diabetes, the stricter lifestyle control can take away the smile on their faces!

Indians, in particular, find it hard to keep a check on their sugar levels, thanks to year-round festivities that involves family and social gatherings, elaborate meals and spreads. Adult or kid, on such occasions, it is only natural to give in to temptation!

To live a normal life patients have to rely on taking insulin regularly. The challenge is even larger when the patients are children. When adults consider taking insulin shots an uphill task, think of how kids would feel!

Good news

The good news is that new insulin delivery systems are now easily available. Now ‘smart' insulin pumps to deliver insulin are available in India too.

Insulin Pump therapy is of great help in difficult-to-control Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. It makes good metabolic control possible with marked flexibility of lifestyle and improved quality of life. An insulin pump is a small mechanical device, similar to a pager, and can be easily worn outside the body on a pocket/belt. It delivers insulin into the body via an Infusion Set or a thin plastic tube ending in a small flexible plastic cannula. The latter is inserted into the skin using an insertion device. Patients can refill their insulin and change their infusion sets every two to three days.

The insulin pump is not an artificial pancreas but works more like a healthy pancreas. It is programmed to deliver the correct dosage based on the individual's needs. Advanced pumps render better blood sugar control than insulin injections. However, the patients require some training to learn to operate them properly. Both adults and young children can learn how to ‘manage' the device from their doctors.

Since the insulin pump uses only the more predictable rapid-acting insulin, the patient has the flexibility to adjust the pump settings and insulin dose according to lifestyle and eating habits. For example, if he/she indulges in activities that lower blood sugar like cycling or gardening the basal rate can be reduced so that blood sugar does not drop too low.

An insulin pump can provide effective, safe and predictable insulin absorption for diabetic patients making it easier to have a tight glycemic control.

Multiple benefits

For parents whose children have juvenile diabetes, pump therapy is a boon. Children get the freedom to enjoy their favourite games and food items without having to bother with periodic injections that scare them psychologically.

There are multiple benefits of insulin pump. Patients can easily adjust insulin to keep glucose levels within a near-normal range and ensure tighter glucose control. A healthy pancreas delivers insulin every 10 to 14 minutes The Insulin Pump closely mimics the pancreas by delivering insulin effectively, continuously round the clock and with minimal variability. Insulin delivery is precise and accurate in 0.05 increments. This kind of control is not possible with traditional injection therapy.

Insulin pump therapy allows flexibility of life style. Patients can eat what they want, when they want; something almost unheard of in patients using traditional insulin injection. With insulin pump therapy children with diabetes can enjoy a fuller and fun-filled life. As a parent what more can you ask for?

The writer is a paediatric and adolescent endocrinologist and diabetologist, based in New Delhi.