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Help for Insulin Pumps

Diagnosed Diabetic & on an Insulin Pump?

When Alissa was first put on an insulin pump there was SO much to learn!

Insulin Pump Informatin

Here's some of the notes that I made for ourselves and also for when Alissa went to stay overnight with family:-

Basal Rates - we kept a note of these, in case we needed to make temporary adjustment

1 unit insulin = 15g of carbohydrates

1 unit of insulin = reduces my level by 3.5mmol (UK measurements)

(There are personal to each person and should be given to you by your diabetic nurse or doctor)

To Bolus: Here I wrote details instructions of how to bolus

To Stop the Pump: (useful if Alissa was low): Again, I wrote instructions of how to stop the pump and how to be sure it had stopped

To Unstop the Pump:  Useful if you need to restart it for any reason

Setting a temporary basal rate: This was useful if Alissa had a low sugar level during the night.  It's also helpful if you're about to exercise or take an unplanned nap.

More Useful Pump Info

Here's some other notes that I made, these were personal to us, and will be different for each person, but it might give you an idea of the sorts of things you can write down:-

  1. If I am high in the night, you must wake me up, tell me to make sure that my tubing is alright & bolus.  Check my level again after an hour and three quarters, as this is how long that insulin takes to act.
  2. If I am high twice (level more than 15 (UK measurements)), use the Humapen to reduce to target levels.  Also, change my set as it may be malfunctioning.
  3. If my level is 15 or above, I mustn't do any exercise
  4. If I have had high blood sugars for more than five hours,I must do a ketone test
  5. I am only allowed to go off the pump for an hour at the most
  6. I must test my sugar levels before having a bath and before swimming
  7. My target levels are between 4.4 and 7.7.  Anything above 9 is too high and needs to be adjusted.  Anything above 15 and the magic "1 unit of insulin reducing sugar levels by 3.5" (Alissa's own rate, check to find out what your own is) formula does NOT apply and I will probably need to have more insuline
  8. Exercise will reduce my sugar levels quite quickly - the more energetic, the quicker they come down
  9. If I have exercise or a meal close to bedtime, it is important to check my levels in the night - but it is probably easier just to eat a couple of hours before bed and not to have exercise
  10. After exercise - my levels may come down as much as 3-4 hours later - watch out!
  11. White bread is a big no-no; it makes my sugar levels go haywire - a mixture of carbohydrate, veg/fruits and protein is better.  High fat meals (e.g. pizza) also slow down absorption of carbohydrates so my level may go up slower but then stay raised, up to 5 hours later!  Again, best avoided.
  12. Ice-cream is OK - as long as it is only occasionally and is eaten after some other food - sugary foods like this are best eaten (if they must be) with other carbohydrates (e.g. pasta, potato)

Please note, any figures in the above are personal to Alissa and will not apply to you. 

Please check with your own diabetes team to find what will work for you. 

Useful Resources

Exercise and Diabetes - how does exercise affect your blood sugar levels.  How can you use exercise to improve your levels?

More on Diabetic Diet - suggestions as to what foods to avoid and what type of diet can help you to safely manage your health.