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July 27, 2004

Insulin Pumps

Question from County Londonderry, Northern Ireland:

I am 14 years old and I have had diabetes for eight years. My diabetes control is not very good and has not been for the past five years. My doctors and nurses are always telling me about side affects later on in life. My granny had bad control and ended up poorly, eventually passing away. Every day, I wish and pray for a cure. Over the last few months, I have found out about insulin pumps. Are these only available in the United States? Where else can you get one? My nurse and doctor are not great believers in these insulin pumps, but my family and I would like to know more.

Answer:

You should speak to your diabetes doctor. Pumps are not widely used in the United Kingdom, largely because of funding problems, but a recent National Institute for Clinical Excellence guidance is likely to mean that they should be made more available. However, it is very important to understand that pumps are not a panacea and only work if used with great care and attention to detail. The same applied to a multiple injection regimen can deliver very good control. You should discuss all of this with your team.

KJR