How Do Insulin Pumps Work Types Functions And Components
Everyone that has type 1 diabetes and many that have type 2 diabetes require insulin to control their condition. There are two main methods for delivering insulin injecting with a syringe/pen or using an insulin pump.
Insulin pumps negate the need for multiple daily injections via syringes or insulin pens. However, fully understanding how insulin pumps work can be challenging to grasp.
So, in this article, we will discuss how insulin pumps work, the different types, and each individual part of the pump. Before diving into the details, though, here is a quick overview.
How Do Insulin Pumps Work? Insulin pumps are small computerized devices that allow for the easy delivery of insulin. There are many brands of insulin pumps, but there are two main types, which consist of traditional pumps and patch pumps. In general, insulin pumps help individuals gain better control over their diabetes condition, preventing farther health complications from arising.
It is important to mention that each brand of insulin pump may work slightly differently than others. But they all have very similar mechanisms of action, which we will now get into.
How Long Does Insulin Last In An Insulin Pump When Opened/in
If one uses open vials to draw insulin and refill an insulin pump, it can be a bit riskier. This is because once open, or when in use, insulin lasts for 28 days, after which it should be discarded.
Unlike unopened insulin, which needs to be refrigerated, opened insulin can be kept in controlled room temperatures or refrigerated.
But regardless of whether theyre stored at the right temperature, they have to be discarded after 28 days.
So, to know how long insulin will last in an insulin pump, its always recommended to record the date of when the insulin is opened. This will make sure that youre not refilling an insulin pump with insulin that has passed these 28 days of the lasting period.
If youre refilling with opened insulin thats reaching the last few days of use, then the insulin thats refilled in the pump may not last for long enough.
This is also one of the reasons why many users prefer using prefilled insulin cartridges. Rather than having to manually draw from vials and worry about how many days its been since opening the vial, patients can simply look at the date on the prefilled cartridge.
If this seems like an easier method for you, then for your fast-acting insulin, you can explore the option and potentially obtain it through our PAP for diabetes option for just $50 a month via Prescription Hope.
An open insulin vial or pen can be kept at room temperature between 59 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent it from going bad sooner than the 28-30 day period.
Where Do I Inject Insulin
- You can inject insulin into your abdomen, upper arm, buttocks, hip, and the front or side of the thigh. Insulin works fastest when it is injected into the abdomen. Do not inject insulin within 2 inches of your belly button or into any stretch marks.
- Do not inject insulin into areas where you have a wound or bruising. Insulin injected into wounds or bruises may not get into your body correctly. Do not inject insulin through your clothes. Injecting through clothes can contaminate the needle and may cause an infection.
- Use a different area within the site each time you inject insulin. For example, inject insulin into different areas in your abdomen. Insulin injected into the same area can cause lumps, swelling, or thickened skin.
Recommended Reading: Surgical Treatment For Type 2 Diabetes
Also Check: Cost Of Insulin In Us
How Long Does Insulin Last After Injection
The duration of insulin effects depends on the type of insulin used. There are five types of insulin:
- Rapid-acting insulin: Onset is within 15 minutes and duration of effects last up to five hours.
- Short-acting insulin: Onset is in 30-60 minutes and duration of effects last up to 10 hours.
- Intermediate-acting insulin: Onset of two to four hours with duration of effects lasting 12-18 hours.
- Long-acting insulin: Onset of three to four hours with duration of effects lasting over 24 hours.
- Combination insulin: Mixture of rapid-acting and long-acting insulins, which has quick onset and long-lasting effect.
A protein obtained from fish, known as neutral protamine Hagedorn , is added to insulin to slow down its absorption and make the effects last longer. NPH also makes the insulin solution appear cloudy to the eye.
The long-lasting insulins are known as basal insulins and provide a constant, steady supply to bring down high resting blood sugar levels. Short-acting insulins are known as bolus insulins. They act fast to bring down blood sugar spikes that come with meals.
How Long Does Insulin Last In An Insulin Pump Heres The Guide
Using an insulin pump takes some getting used to. From the various settings, features, and rules to follow, there are always some questions users have about using insulin pumps.
One common question many have with insulin pumps is how long does insulin last in an insulin pump. So, this article will offer some guidance on how long insulin lasts in a pump, and if insulin can go bad in an insulin pump? If so, then when?
So, first, lets give you the quick answer, then well get into some of the details and instructions.
How Long Does Insulin Last in an Insulin Pump? Insulin lasts about 28-30 days after it is opened and not refrigerated. Insulin pumps generally need to be changed every 2-3 days. So, the insulin you use to fill the reservoir in the pump must at least be on day 25 or 26 since youve opened the vial. Patients are recommended not to use insulin beyond the expiration date on the container.
Now thats the short and quick answer, but other questions always arise from that concerning the various nuances for insulin when its in the pump. So, lets run through those next.
You May Like: Diabetic Drug Used For Weight Loss
Common And Serious Side Effects: What To Watch For
The most common side effect of insulin, including Lantus, is low blood sugar , which may be serious. Some people may experience symptoms such as shaking, sweating, fast heartbeat, and blurred vision.
Ask your doctor about the symptoms and signs of hypoglycemia, how to track your blood sugar, and what to do if you suffer a hypoglycemic event.
Can I Use My Insulin Right Out Of The Fridge
Before opening a new insulin vial or pen, you can remove it from the fridge and let it reach room temperature before injecting it. This should help avoid the discomfort from injecting cold insulin.
After the first use of your vial or pen, follow the manufacturers instructions for how long you can store your insulin at room temperature. This depends on the type you use.
Also Check: Type 1 Diabetes Automatic Insulin Pump
Do I Need To Consider My Diet While Using The Pump
Absolutely! You should be considering your diet whether you have diabetes or not. Benefits of healthy eating are not limited to good blood sugar control and weight management. Eating a variety of foods found close to nature can give you more energy, clearer thinking and help you fight off viruses and other bugs. It’s important to choose foods high in fiber, low in saturated fat, and eat fruits and vegetables daily.
People with diabetes are typically quite focused on their carbohydrate intake. But data suggests that paying attention to fat content can also help blood sugar control. High fat foods can slow the absorption of carbohydrates into your blood stream. High fat foods can also cause insulin resistance. How does an insulin pump helps with this? Well, the insulin pump give you the ability to deliver insulin to meet the needs of a high fat, high carb meal. It’s referred to as a dual wave bolus. It will give you part of the insulin up front, and then you can set the duration in which the rest of the insulin is delivered.
How Can I Get An Insulin Pump
Pumps are generally only offered on the NHS to some children and adults with type 1 diabetes.
Check the latest guidelines on who should be offered a free pump.
If you have type 1 diabetes and dont qualify for a pump, or have type 2 diabetes or another type of diabetes, your main option at the moment is to self-fund a pump.
Whatever type of diabetes you have, if you use insulin and are interested in using an insulin pump, talk to your healthcare team. They can help you decide if a pump might suit you and in some cases offer offer advice on different types of pumps.
You May Like: How Much Do Insulin Pumps Cost
Will The Bolus Calculator Meet Your Needs
One of the best features of modern pumps is the built-in bolus calculator. All of the pumps ask for your blood glucose level and the grams of carbohydrate you plan to eat in determining your dose. They then deduct insulin that is still active or unused from the last bolus given. When setting up the bolus calculator, some pumps allow you to enter your insulin-to-carbohydrate ratio in very precise proportions, while others round to whole numbers such as 1 unit of insulin per 4 grams of carbohydrate, 1 unit per 6 grams of carbohydrate, and so on. Some will not allow a ratio of less than 1 unit per 2 grams of carbohydrate or 3 grams of carbohydrate. While this is not a problem for the majority of pump users, it can be limiting for people who are on very large doses of insulin.
Likewise, the time intervals used when setting insulin-to-carbohydrate ratios are highly flexible in some pumps and less flexible in others, and when making adjustments for active or unused insulin, different pumps handle the data in different ways.
What Does An Insulin Pump Do
An insulin pump is intended to imitate the functions of a human pancreas. Your pancreas releases insulin in response to changes in your blood sugar level. But when you have diabetes, your body doesnt release insulin or use it properly. As a result, you have to find another way to get the insulin you need.
Insulin pumps work by delivering a basal, or set, rate of insulin through a tube called a cannula. The cannula is inserted just under the top layer of your skin. Your doctor will work with you to determine the amount of insulin you need each day.
Insulin pumps can also deliver an insulin bolus. This is an extra dose of insulin besides your basal rate. A pump wont automatically give you this extra dose of insulin, though. You need to tell the pump to administer the bolus dose.
Insulin pumps give you insulin according to how you program them. They dont adjust on their own to your changing insulin levels. Some pumps can, however, adjust basal rates based on the blood sugar reading of a continuous glucose monitor.
They require special training on your part to make sure you can use them safely and effectively.
An insulin pump is usually about the size of a deck of cards, although the size can vary depending on the model. You wear the pump outside your body.
The pump usually consists of:
- a display screen
- a place for an insulin container
- a thin cannula, or tube, that attaches to your body
Innovations in pump technology mean that some pumps have extra features, such as:
You May Like: Onetouch Ultra 2 Blood Glucose Meter
Important Storage Tips For All Insulin:
Recommended Reading: The Diabetes Code Prevent And Reverse Type 2 Diabetes Naturally
Does Insulin Expire Insulin Expiration Dates
Common questions that frequently pop up for people with diabetes are: Does insulin expire? And can you use your insulin if its expired? Yes, insulin does expire. And what you need to know is that insulin has TWO expiration dates:
- Expiration date on the insulin vial box or pen usually one year after the purchase date
- Expiration date once youve opened the insulin vial or pen
The expiration date once youve opened the insulin vial or insulin pen is different than the date printed on the box. Open means that youve removed the cap and punctured the rubber stopper on the vial with your syringe needle, or youve used the insulin pen for the first time.
- Opened insulin vials generally last for only 28 days
- Opened pens will generally last for between 28 and 56 days after the first use, depending on the type of insulin
Here are some examples of the differences in insulin expiration dates after opening:
- Humalog KwikPen: 28 days after first use
- NPH Humulin vial: 42 days after first use
- NPH Novolin FlexPen: 28 days after first use
- Levemir vial: 42 days after first use
- Levemir FlexPen: 42 days after first use
- Tresiba FlexTouch Pen: 56 days after first use
To get cutting-edge diabetes news, strategies for blood glucose management, nutrition tips, healthy recipes, and more delivered straight to your inbox, !
You May Like: How To Get Rid Of Diabetes Stomach Fat
Don’t Miss: Normal Blood Glucose Range Fasting
Whats So Great About The Pump
The list is an important one, in large part because pumps provide more precise and tailored insulin delivery. As a result, they offer greater lifestyle flexibility. Tailored insulin delivery can help:
- The dawn phenomenon by matching your early-morning increase in insulin resistance, so you avoid high blood sugar.
- Post-meal glucose rise from slowly digested foods or gastroparesis .
- Shift workers by adjusting the basal rates to your varying work schedule
- Frequent travelers by adjusting the basal and bolus rate to your travel schedule and time zone changes
- Prevent low blood sugars during physical activity and exercise by use of temporary basal insulin rate settings
- Extremely insulin sensitive people by delivering small doses of insulin
When Pumps Are Funded By The Nhs
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommends an insulin pump if:
- you’re having frequent hypos or hypers without warning
- your HbA1c is 69mmol/mol or above even though you have tried to manage your blood glucose levels
Your consultant may recommend a pump if this is happening and you can show you’re:
- regularly injecting insulin
- checking your blood glucose at least 4 times a day
- carb counting
You May Like: What Does Insulin Do To Glucose
To Figure Out How Long A Pen/vial Of Insulin Will Last:
Take your total daily dose, add any extra insulin waste such as priming pens/infusion sets, then use that number to divide the number of units in the pen or vial that you use. – 3 ml pen/cartridge contains 300 units of insulin – 5 ml vial contains 500 units of insulin – 10 ml vial contains 1000 units of insulin.
Did you catch that? ) No problem.
Why Might I Not Like Insulin Pens
Insulin pens are not right for 100% of diabetes patients. Insulin in pens and cartridges is generally more expensive than bottled insulin and syringes. When pens are used a small quantity of insulin is wasted, making the process less economical.
Not all types of insulin are available to be used in insulin pen cartridges at this stage. Furthermore, insulin pens do not let you mix two different types of insulin, meaning in some cases two separate injections will need to be administered.
Read Also: Diabetic Charts For Blood Sugar
How To Choose An Insulin Pump
Choosing the right pump can seem overwhelming- but your diabetes team can guide you to the pump that suits your diabetes, lifestyle and budget. Things to consider include:
- Would you prefer a patch pump attached to your body or a tethered pump?
- How important are the pumps size, appearance, and visibility to you?
- What tube and cannula design would you prefer?
- What size of insulin reservoir do you need? If you have high insulin requirements, you should choose a pump with a larger reservoir.
- If you are sensitive to insulin or choosing a device for a child, look for a pump that can administer small doses of insulin.
- Does your lifestyle mean you need a device with long battery life?
- Can you get an NHS pump, or will medical insurance cover the cost?
- If you are purchasing a private pump, what is your budget?
- How is the pump programmed? Consider whether the controller or smartphone app is easy for you to understand, see and use.
- Do you want your pump to integrate with your continuous glucose monitor or CGM?
- If you enjoy sports, will the pump be stable, comfortable and usable during activity? If youre a swimmer, consider a waterproof device.