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Insulin Pump Therapy

Section 6: Pump Advantages & Challenges

In this section, you will learn:

  • Common advantages of insulin pump therapy
  • Common challenges of insulin pump therapy

Now that you understand how insulin pump therapy compares to injections, it is easier to understand the advantages and challenges of insulin pump therapy.

​​​​​Advantages of Pump Therapy

Remember that insulin pump therapy is not necessarily better than MDI. It may help with lifestyle or blood sugar challenges that some people have with MDI. This means that the main advantage of pump therapy may be different for each person.

Advantages of pump therapy as compared to MDI may include:

  • a more precise and consistent way to deliver insulin to suit individual needs
  • less risk of low and high blood sugar if basal rates are correctly set and temporary basal rates are used
  • fewer insulin injections (1 cannula is inserted every 2 to 3 days)
  • more meal bolus delivery options
  • improved quality of life
  • a more flexible lifestyle
  • similar or slightly improved A1c compared to MDI

These advantages may be most appreciated by people who:

  • have frequent hypoglycemia, hypoglycemia unawareness
  • have a large blood sugar rise before waking (dawn phenomenon)
  • have variable lifestyles due to exercise, shift work, meal times
  • have variable blood sugars due to menstruation, chronic illness, pain
  • require very small amounts of insulin (toddlers, children, athletes)
  • are pregnant or planning pregnancy
  • cannot meet their insulin needs with intermediate or long-acting basal insulin

Please remember that important self-management habits are needed for blood sugar control in type 1 diabetes, whether using an insulin pump or not. The advantages of insulin pump therapy aren’t obtained without applying these habits. These habits can be reviewed in Section 1: The Key to Blood Sugar Control.​​​​​​​