Insulin Pump Therapy

Is it For You?

Whether you have Type 1 or Type 2, if you require insulin, insulin pump therapy may be something you want to consider. Imagine the freedom of being able to tailor your insulin to your life versus tailoring your life to your insulin injections. Imagine the freedom of eating, sleeping, and exercising when you want, with more peace of mind. With an insulin pump, now you can! You’ll see major improvements in your blood glucose control with fewer highs and lows (Insulin pump therapy: a meta-analysis. Diabetes Care. 2003;26 (4)1079-1087). And no more shots!

As a diabetes educator and an insulin pump trainer, the biggest reason people tell me they love having made the switch to an insulin pump is their improved quality of life (their biggest initial concern is being attached to something). They report more convenience, more control, more flexibility, and more freedom. This has in fact been assessed in a research study. When insulin pump users were asked to rate the quality of their lives, they reported high levels of satisfaction and less worries about their diabetes. It’s no wonder 98% of people who start on an insulin pump stay with it (Insulin pump therapy in the 21st century. Strategies for successful use in adults, adolescents, and children with diabetes. Postgrad Med. 2002;111(5):69-77). See a personal account of one of Medtronic’s patients here referring to his pump as “FREEDOM.”

An insulin pump is not implanted and does not require surgery. It connects and disconnects quickly for activities such as bathing, swimming, playing sports, or simply changing your clothes. You can disconnect or reconnect at anytime using the quick-release feature on the infusion set. The infusion set is changed once every 3 days.

Compared with multiple daily shots, a pump works more like a healthy pancreas. A healthy pancreas continuously releases tiny amounts of insulin 24 hours a day to maintain normal blood glucose levels between meals and overnight. You can program an insulin pump to automatically deliver insulin in much the same way, called a basal rate. You can adjust your basal rate as needed throughout the day-every 30 minutes if necessary. In response to food, a healthy pancreas releases more insulin. With a pump, with just the press of a button, you can deliver a bolus dose of insulin when you eat. An insulin pump is programmed with each person’s individual insulin needs for background (basal) insulin, insulin to carbohydrate ratio, correction factor, blood glucose target, and active insulin time or insulin on board (the pump keeps track of how much insulin is still active in the body, reducing the risk for hypoglycemia). Your physician will help you determine your individual pump settings.

Insulin pump therapy might be the right tool for you if:
  • You’re frustrated by shots
    • You’re struggling to meet your Hemoglobin A1c target
    • You’re worried about hypoglycemia and tired of snacking
    • You want more flexibility
    • You have an active lifestyle that includes sports
    • You’re a teenager with changing hormones, which affect insulin use
    • You’re pregnant or considering it
    • You’re interested in using the latest technology to improve your insulin therapy

Talk with your physician or healthcare provider to help determine if you are a candidate for insulin pump therapy. For additional information on insulin pump therapy and continuous glucose monitoring, call 1-800-MINIMED (1-800-646-4633, option 3), or go to Feel free to call or email me as well if you have questions or would like to see a pump demonstration. We can provide a complimentary assessment of your insurance coverage for an insulin pump. If you are approved for an insulin pump, you have up to 60-days to try the pump. If you decide it is not for you, you can return it for a full refund.

Tara Stantz MS, RD, CDE
Diabetes Clinical Consultant, Medtronic Diabetes
VM (800) 933-3322 x2526