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March 26, 2008 > Diabetes Matters: Introduction to Insulin Pumps - Learn How Insulin Pump Therapy Works at the Next Diabetes Matters Class

Diabetes Matters: Introduction to Insulin Pumps - Learn How Insulin Pump Therapy Works at the Next Diabetes Matters Class

Living with diabetes isn't easy. More than 20 million Americans have diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes and they must use various means to help manage their disease. When diabetes occurs, it is attributed to the body producing very little or no insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is made by the pancreas and helps to keep blood sugar (glucose) levels normal.
Understanding how insulin affects blood sugar can help people with diabetes to effectively manage their condition. Those with Type 1 diabetes and certain cases of Type 2 diabetes might need insulin injections to manage their glucose levels. Insulin therapy comes in many forms (pens, infusers, syringes, pumps) but they all do the same basic thing - deliver insulin.
At an upcoming Diabetes Matters education class sponsored by Washington Hospital's Diabetes Program, Cindie Mick, MS, RD, CDE, CPT, a registered dietitian, certified diabetic educator and certified insulin pump trainer will present an overview and introduction to insulin pump therapy.
"The goal of the upcoming Diabetes Matters class is to educate the public on insulin pumps and dispel any myths that might be associated with these devices," Mick says. "I will review how insulin pumps work, the pros and cons of using insulin pumps and discuss who can benefit the most from this type of insulin therapy."
How Does Insulin Pump Therapy Work?
"Insulin pumps are computerized devices, about the size of a beeper which people can wear on their belt or in their pocket," Mick explains. "Insulin pumps deliver a continuous and measured dose of insulin through a cannula (plastic tube) that provides insulin dependent people with the appropriate and accurate amount of insulin throughout the day."
Insulin pumps are not surgical implanted. With the aid of a small needle, a small cannula is introduced underneath the skin by a needle that is removed. By providing a small yet constant flow of insulin, insulin pumps mimic the way a healthy pancreas works.
Mick, who has been an insulin pump trainer for more than seven years says there are several advantages of using insulin pump therapy.
"Studies have shown that people that use insulin pumps are more likely to achieve their target A1C blood test values than people on multiple daily insulin injections," she says. "Insulin pumps also provide better glucose control which allows people to enjoy a more flexible lifestyle - especially at mealtime."
Are There Any Disadvantages to Insulin Pumps?
Although there are some advantages in using an insulin pump, there are some disadvantages. People that use insulin pumps need to wear the pump most of the time and the pumps are expensive.
"Receiving an appropriate amount of support and instruction on how the insulin pumps work is very important," says Mick. "Insulin pumps need to be properly maintained and people need to learn how to operate a pump comfortably before they start using one."
Mick often gives educational presentations in different areas of the Bay Area and she is currently providing free monthly classes at Washington Hospital on insulin pump therapy, continuous glucose monitoring systems and advanced insulin pump features.
To learn more about insulin pump therapy, join Cindie Mick at the free Diabetes Matters education class on Thursday, April 3 from 7 to 8 p.m. in the Conrad E. Anderson, M.D. Auditorium in the Washington West Building located at 2500 Mowry Avenue in Fremont. A group discussion will follow Mick's lecture from 8 to 9 p.m.

Washington Hospital's Outpatient Diabetes Program is located at 1860 Mowry Avenue, Suite 200. To learn more about other services and programs available through the Diabetes Program, call (510) 745-6556 or visit, click on "Services & Programs" and select "Diabetes Services" from the drop-down menu.
What: Diabetes Matters Presentation
Topic: Introduction to Insulin Pumps
When: Thursday, April 3, 7 to 9 p.m.
Where: Conrad E. Anderson, M.D. Auditorium (Washington West, 2500 Mowry Ave.)
Call: (510) 745-6556 for more information.

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