Insulin Pumps and Glucose Sensors


 

Insulin Pumps

Continuous subcutaneous insulin, or the insulin pump, has gained popularity and sophistication as a near-physiologic programmable method of insulin delivery that is flexible and lifestyle-friendly.

Continuous glucose monitor (CGM) systems usually consist of a glucose sensor, a transmitter, and a small external monitor to view your glucose levels. MiniMed insulin pumps have built-in CGM so the information can be conveniently seen on your pump screen. The CGM monitor or insulin pump is small, discreet, and easy-to-wear.

Insulin pumps are small computerized devices that deliver insulin in two ways:

  • In a steady measured and continuous dose (the “basal” insulin)
  • As a surge (“bolus“) dose, at your direction, around mealtime.

Doses are delivered through a flexible plastic tube called a catheter. With the aid of a small needle, the catheter is inserted through the skin into the fatty tissue and is taped in place. The insulin pump is not an artificial pancreas (because you still have to monitor your blood glucose level), but pumps can help some people achieve better control, and many people prefer this continuous system of insulin delivery over injections. Pumps can be programmed to release small doses of insulin continuously (basal), or a bolus dose close to mealtime to control the rise in blood glucose after a meal. This delivery system most closely mimics the body’s normal release of insulin. You’ll want to check with your insurance carrier before you buy a pump and supplies. Most carriers cover these, but some don’t.

To make an appointment with our diabetes specialist, call our Manhattan endocrinology practice at 646-759-9388 or click here to make an appointment.

 

Glucose sensors

The introduction of continuous monitoring with glucose sensors provides unprecedented access to, and prediction of, a patient’s blood glucose levels.

A continuous glucose monitor (CGM) determines glucose levels on a continuous basis (every few minutes). A typical system consists of:

  • a disposable glucose sensor placed just under the skin, which is worn for a few days until replacement
  • a link from the sensor to a non-implanted transmitter which communicates to a radio receiver
  • an electronic receiver worn like a pager (or insulin pump) that displays glucose levels with nearly continuous updates, as well as monitors rising and falling trends.

Continuous glucose monitors measure the concentration of glucose in a sample of interstitial fluid. Shortcomings of CGM systems due to this fact are:

  • Continuous systems must be calibrated with a traditional blood glucose measurement (using current technology) and therefore require both the CGM system and occasional “fingerstick.”
  • Glucose levels in interstitial fluid lag behind blood glucose values.

Patients therefore require traditional fingerstick measurements for calibration (typically twice per day) and are often advised to use fingerstick measurements to confirm hypo- or hyperglycemia before taking corrective action.

To make an appointment with our diabetes specialist, call our Manhattan endocrinology practice at 646-759-9388 or click here to make an appointment.

Location
Ana Maria Kausel MD Endocrinology
146 West 29th St, 12E
Chelsea

New York, NY 10001
Phone: 646-205-0618
Fax: (646) 843-7697
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