Some benefits to insulin pump therapy include fewer to no shots, less hypoglycemia, increased flexibility of insulin rates and the ability to extend insulin delivery periods, according to HealthCentral. Studies show improved hemoglobin A1c levels and a reduction of required daily insulin over time, reports WebMD.
When functioning properly, insulin pumps improve patient comfort by eliminating the need for multiple daily injections. Pump catheters usually require changing at least once every three days, as opposed to two or more daily injections for conventional insulin therapy. Pumps also use a method called basal/bolus therapy, which better imitates a well-functioning pancreas, notes HealthCentral. This works by providing a consistent background dose of insulin as well as a bolus dose to compensate for carbohydrate intake. Patients or their doctors can program pumps to deliver the best dose of basal insulin for different times of day depending on individual need, resulting in reduced incidence of hypoglycemia. Additionally, by inputting the current blood sugar value and amount of carbohydrates for consumption, the pump automatically calculates and delivers the correct bolus insulin dose.
Insulin pumps can quickly and easily correct blood sugar abnormalities, explains WebMD. If blood sugar becomes too low, the pump can temporarily lower or suspend the basal insulin dose. If too high, the pump can calculate and deliver a bolus dose to compensate. Doctors can later retrieve this information from the pump and make any changes necessary to reduce future blood sugar problems. Over time, this leads to better blood sugar control and significantly lower levels of hemoglobin A1c.