Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Insulin Pumps

The following few questions are pump-specific and are included here only for general information as the terms may be heard in clinic or seen in literature.

What is a Wizard?
Different manufacturers use different terms but a 'wizard' is a piece of software in the pump that does a clever calculation of the recommended insulin dose based upon many factors including the current blood glucose, what carbohydrate is to be eaten, exercise performed and what recent insulin has been given

What is insulin sensitivity?
Insulin Sensitivity measures how well someone responds to a insulin, and describes the fall in blood glucose for each unit of insulin taken.

What is insulin on-board?
Since insulin is being administered continuously by a pump and boluses (individual doses) are taken with food, it would be possible for doses to "build-up" and cause hypoglycaemia. The insulin on-board function therefore keeps track of previous doses and ensures that not too much is given with next dose.

How does a pump give fast and slow acting insulin?
It doesn't. It only gives fast acting insulin. By having a very slowly delivered background (basal) rate that can be changed as necessary, the pump copies or mimics the way the body keeps producing insulin when we are not eating. Although a fast acting insulin is being delivered, the slow rate means it works more like a long acting insulin (which actually works by entering the bloodstream slowly) With snacks and meals pulses (boluses) of the same insulin are given rather like conventional mealtime injections.