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Outlook For Diabetes
By Jude Roberts

(Page 2 of 3)

New, improved pumps also have multiple safety features that ensure against accidental insulin delivery. All insulin pumps run multiple safety checks every second and have sensitive alarms that detect problems such as blocked insulin flow and programming errors. Because the pumps set off an alarm and “lock up” in the event of any internal problem, there is virtually no chance of accidental insulin delivery. They allow for people with diabetes to effectively deal with changes in their activity levels, busy schedules, changes in diet, and changes in blood glucose level because of hormonal changes. This is one reason why they are being prescribed with greater frequency for young children and young adults, since their activity levels and diet levels change frequently. Although these new pumps work great, it is still important to continue to take blood samples in order to monitor your glucose levels. Insulin pumps tend to be a bit pricey - between $4,000 and $6,000 - but many insurance plans will cover the cost of the pump and the supplies that go along with it, greatly reducing the out-of-pocket expense of a person or family. Remember that insulin pumps are usually considered to be “durable medical equipment” to most insurance companies. The pump companies have people who will work with your doctor as well as with your insurance company to try and get everything approved. Should you not be approved for a pump the first time around, don’t give up; many insurance companies know less about these pumps than you do, so stay informed and educate them if you must, in order to receive what you need.

New Treatment Options

Insulin Pump Implants - researchers are currently working to develop an insulin pump which can be permanently implanted to measure blood sugar levels and deliver the exact amount of insulin needed. A device such as this would make  it possible to mimic the action of natural insulin delivery.

Insulin Capsule Implant - scientists are making progress with an insulin capsule which can be implanted to continuously produce insulin and releases it into the bloodstream. It contains insulin-secreting cells that borrow nutrients from the body, allowing it to keep producing insulin indefinitely. One of the challenges in creating such an implant was to overcome the natural reaction of the body’s immune system to reject and destroy a foreign object. Luckily, with the use of microchip technology, a capsule has been created that will not come under the attack of the body’s immune system. Before an implant such as this can be placed on the market, tests must still be done in order to determine the long-term usage and ideal dosage level needed to perfect it for general use, which is still several years away.

Insulin Inhalers - although daily injections of insulin would still be needed, inhaled insulin is currently in clinical trials and may be headed for quick approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These inhalers are about the size of a flashlight and use a rapid-acting insulin which is sprayed and inhaled into the mouth. Coating the mouth, throat and tongue, the insulin is able to pass quickly into the bloodstream.


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