Diabetes Insulin Pump: How It Works

Looking for an Insulin Pump for diabetes to maintain sugar level? In today’s society diabetes is a very commonly found disease. The patients suffering from this disease are prone to suffer from high blood sugar levels therefore it is extremely important for them to maintain their sugar level. So, they may prevent themselves from extreme complications like kidney failure, blindness, or even heart diseases. The culprit of this disease is insulin, it is a hormone that helps the body to use glucose. 

When a human’s body is not making insulin it is referred to as the first type of diabetes and when a human’s body is producing insulin but is not able to properly use insulin, this type is referred to as the second type of diabetes. People use smartwatches compatible with the Dexcom G6 sensor to monitor their diabetes stats on the go.

Medication, diet and exercise can also help a patient to control his sugar levels but in some specific circumstances, insulin therapy is necessary. The commonly used tool for insulin therapy is the insulin pump. The insulin pump is a small computerized device that provides short and continuous bursts of insulin all day long to maintain sugar level of a diabetes patient.

Some Prominent Advantages & Disadvantages of an Insulin Pump

Working of an Insulin Pump

An insulin pump is a computerized device that is programmed to work just like the human pancreas. An insulin pump delivers short bursts or doses of insulin; these short doses are usually called the basal rate. An insulin pump can also deliver different amounts of insulin when something is eaten, this type of variable dosing is known as a bolus. The basal rate is normally set by your doctor; one can also set more than one basal rate in their insulin pump. On the other hand, a bolus can also be directly programmed in the pump. A bolus is usually dependent on a patient’s glucose level and the total amount of carbohydrates that are eaten.

The pump itself is about the size of a small mobile phone and usually worn on a belt or bra. The pump takes a battery and has a computerized pump in it, it also has a small compartment for an insulin cartridge, it also has a tube attached to it and a small cannula at the end of that tube.

Basel rate and bolus both are programmed into this pump, then the cannula is placed in a layer of fat under the skin. Then as per the programmed data, the insulin pump will start working by pumping insulin from the reservoir, carrying it through that tube and injecting it into the body with the help of a cannula.

To use an insulin pump properly a patient will need to get proper training from a hospital or a diabetes care center. They will teach the patient about the replacement of insulin cartridges and cannulas, they will also guide them about the programming of this device.

Types of an Insulin Pump

  1. Traditional insulin pumps: these pumps come with a computerized pumping mechanism, a container, tubing and an infusion set. This type of pump has some buttons through which it can be programmed.
  2. Insulin patch pump: these are just like the traditional pumps, the difference between these two is that the insulin patch pump is programmed with the help of a separate wireless device.

Features of an Insulin Pump

Most of the newer insulin pumps have some exceptional features. some of the newer pumps can be connected wirelessly to a glucose blood meter, it is a small device inserted into the body via a cannula which helps in calculating the sugar level. These glucose meters for diabetes can help the insulin pump to know about the glucose of the body.

Mostly newer pumps have a touch screen and are also waterproof. Even some newer pumps have safety features like it may include missed sugar measurement, blockage in the cannula, missed bolus dose and reminders. These newer pumps will notify the user about all the warnings. Some of these pumps can also be connected to a smartphone and medic fitness trackers, so that they may get more accurate readings of a patient’s daily workout and make notifying about any warning easier.

Parts of an Insulin Pump

Some of the main parts of a traditional insulin pump are:


It contains a battery, an insulin reservoir, a pumping machine and some buttons or a touch screen. The pump then sends the insulin through tubing into an infusion set.


It is a thin plastic tube that carries insulin from the pump to the infusion set. Tubing is usually available in different sizes lengthwise.

Infusion sets

These are made from Teflon and are attached to the body with the help of an adhesive. On the other side of the pad is a cannula that is inserted into the fatty layer under the skin of the patient.

Infusion sets are further divided into two categories:

Angle sets: These sets are inserted into the body at an angle of 30 to 45 degrees. These sets have longer cannulas and are used by thin people, muscular people, pregnant women and athletes.

Straight sets: These sets are inserted in the body of patients at an angle of 90 degrees. These sets have shorter needles.

On the other hand, Patch pumps have very minor differences as compared to the traditional insulin pump that a diabetic patient use. Insulin patch pumps have a reservoir, pumping mechanism and a cannula but the things that are different from the traditional pump are that it doesn’t have any tubing and secondly, the programming is done wirelessly.

Replacement of an Insulin Pump for a Diabetes Patient

It is recommended by the doctor to replace the cannula every two to three days. On the other hand, Patch pumps are different, their battery will last only for 80 hours and it will start notifying the patient to replace the battery at the 70 or 75-hour mark. Some patients may delay the use of their cannula as long as possible but this can be dangerous as this can risk infection.

A Way to Alternative

An alternative exists to monitor diabetes through continuous glucose monitoring diabetic watches called CGM diabetes watches. Where you would monitor your blood sugar level and can take quick measures.

Price of an Insulin Pump

In most countries, a patient’s insurance will take care of the cost of the insulin pump. Still, if a patient is having trouble paying for his pump then there are a lot of organizations that can help. But if we talk about the price of an insulin pump in Pakistan it is around 15k to 22k and if we add the additional charges of insulin cartridges then it can easily exceed 55k a month only for the cartridges. In western countries, insulin pumps cost about $4500 or £2750.

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