Tips on Starting a Diabetes Pump

Gina Capone Health Guide
  • Recently I was talking with one of my internet pals, and she was telling me that she finally decided to go on a pump. FINALLY! ( I was bugging her. A LOT to get one)

    Her current daily regimen is using Lantus and Novolog, aka the poor mans pump. Lantus and novo have the same basic elements of pumping, you have to count carbs and do insulin to carb ratios. You don't have the capabilities to have different basal and bolusing rates, which can help your blood sugars tremendously. Especially if you have Dawn Phenomenon.

    My friend has already noticed patterns for her meals because she is checking so often, she said "I checked 17 times yesterday!" Welcome to the club!

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    Thing is you have to go through the whole training process to learn everything all over again. Diabetes 101: Back to Basics

    Checking your blood sugars every two hours including night time hours (yes people 3am checks), writing EVERYTHING down, blood sugars, food, exercise and keeping in contact with your CDE.

    The reason they do this is to find out your insulin to carb ratios and your basal rates throughout the day. The more information you give your CDE the better.  And your rates can change over time as well. Your body is always changing.

    If you are a woman you can set up different rates for your cycle and then go back to your regular rate when it is finished. We as woman also go through hormonal changes which can cause high blood sugars out of nowhere. Also, if you become pregnant it can definitely help pre, during and post pregnancy.

    My friend wrote to me and said: "It's a lot of friggen work!" Yes, tell me about it! It is a lot of work. Hard work does pay off though, I know this from experience. In the beginning it seems almost impossible to figure everything out . But, I promise it all will pay off.

    You start to really become more aware of what is going on with your body during pump use.  It is a great tool to help you get even more healthy, but in order for it to reach its fullest potential you have to USE IT the correct way (not just a portable syringe). Find out about dual & square waves bolusing for pizza and chinese food and higher fatty foods. Find out about temporary basals, find out everything you can about the pump and its features.

    Be aware though just because you are on a pump doesn't mean you should go crazy and start overindulging on foods you love just because you know you can pump in a bolus. I found out the hard way that the more you pump, the more weight you gain. If weight gain is something you are concerned with.

    Pump use has also worked for me and exercising.  I use the temporary basal rates that help to prevent low blood sugars during and after the gym. The pump can be great on vacation trips as well, especially for time changes.

    Pump management is not easy, it takes a lot of sleepless nights at first, but once your all set with your bolus and basal rates, there will only be some minor tweaks along the way that your CDE can help you with. The key is to write it down and send the numbers and food logs in. I do it only a couple of times in a month every three months when I go for my A1C testing and check up with the endocrinologist.


  • Remember patience is a virtue. If you want to do the work you will be pumping like a pro in no time.

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    Happy pumping... See you at the next bolus haha!

Published On: September 25, 2008