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September 12, 2001

Exercise and Sports, Insulin Pumps

Question from Miami, Florida, USA:

I was wondering if there are any contraindications with the insulin pump and contact sports, if you disconnect.

Answer:

It is okay to disconnect an insulin pump for contact sports, but there are some precautions you need to take:

Put your pump in a safe place.
Put a stopper on the end of the infusion set so no dirt gets into the system (all infusion sets have these little gizmos, meant especially for keeping the set clean when you disconnect.).
You need to check your blood glucose level at least every hour

Be sure to give yourself some insulin if you are above your target for exercise (set by your diabetes team).
If one hour after disconnecting your blood glucose is okay, say you may think it is fine to go another hour before checking again, but we usually advise to check again in a half hour if you did not bolus any insulin at one hour because it can rise very rapidly and an additional hour later may result in an extreme high.

We usually try to keep the pump going on a very low rate rather than disconnecting.
Be sure you have quick-acting glucose on hand to treat lows.

LSF