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August 19, 2000

Insulin Pumps

Question from Livingston, West Lothian, Scotland:

I am 14 years old and I have had diabetes for two years. My doctor has told me that I would be able to get a insulin pump if I really wanted one, but he told me that I would be one of the first children in the UK to get one. He has explained how it works, and it seems okay to use. Has there been any major problems with children that have used it in other countries?

Answer:

Getting an insulin pump, to us, means that you are able to do four or five blood glucose readings each day, keep written records, eat in a reasonable fashion, make adjustments of insulin and activity and food in an appropriate fashion and understand how the pump and catheters work. I suspect that there are many other people in the UK already using insulin pumps but if you really are a “rare bird” in the UK/Scotland, then you will have to demonstrate to your diabetes team that you can make this work for you. This is a heavy burden but one many of our teenage patients here in the US and the rest of the world have already done successfully. A great book for you to order from Minimed or Amazon.com is called “The Insulin Pump Therapy Book.” It’s not as funky as Harry Potter but will give you excellent information about how to decide whether or not a pump is for you.

SB