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There are two main types of treatments for type 1 diabetes: insulitn pump and multiple daily injections (MDI).
You might be asking “Which one is better?”
These two treatment methods have different pros and cons that may suit your child better depending on their needs.
Some of the factors you should take into consideration when deciding which type of treatment to use for a newly diagnosed diabetic child.
It will all depend on a variety of factors, including the age, weight, and lifestyle of your child.
In this post, we will compare the two treatments in order to help you decide which treatment would suit best for your child.
Even though doctors recommend an insulin pump for your newly diagnosed child, the insurance company will not automatically transition your child to one.
The transition period of the insulin pump is usually 6 months up to a year, but if you are self-pay it can be much shorter.
The reason for this long time frame is because doctors want parents and children alike to learn all about diabetes care management before they switch over from injections to an insulin pump with so many bells and whistles.
I know that MDI can be very overwhelming. I was there, but at the end of the day, my belief is that it’s better for you and your family to learn how to do MDI.
Having this experience beforehand will give you more insight into how an insulin pump works in case of a failure, and you will need to fall back into it.
An insulin pump is similar to a pager or smartphone, but it only has one function – delivering the insulin hormone that helps your child live.
How Does An Insulin Pump Work?
The insulin pump is programmed with algorithms and artificial intelligence to imitate your child’s pancreas’ release of insulin so that he/she does not have spikes in blood sugar levels after eating.
It is programmed to deliver the basal insulin, which replaces the long-acting insulin, like Lantus, when using MDI. The child does not need to do anything except wear and carry it for his/her diabetes treatment.
You as the parent, or if the child is older, will input the number of carbs they have eaten and their current blood sugar level. The pump uses this information to calculate how much insulin is needed for that specific time period, using its pre-set insulin sensitivity factor (ISF) and carbohydrate ratios.
Wearing an insulin pump is a great way to reduce the number of needle sticks children have in order to treat their diabetes.
The only insulin that an insulin pump can use is a fast-acting insulin like: Humalog, Novolog, or Apidra.
Types Of Insulin Pumps
There are two types of insulin pumps: tubeless or with tubes.
Tubeless Insulin Pump
The Omnipod is a tubeless pump that consists of one pod and a cannula. The entire system can be adhered to the skin with just one needle, making it an easy device for patients who want more independence in their daily lives without having complications from other devices like tubes or cords.
The Omnipod needs to be managed by the Personal Diabetes Manager (PDM) which in turn directs how much insulin should be given. The PDM can give an extra dose of insulin if needed, and adjusts when it will need more or less based on what has been consumed throughout the day and the current insulin on board.
Tubed Insulin Pump
A tubed pump consists of three parts: a small device that holds insulin, a reservoir or cartridge which contains the insulin in the tube and connects to your skin with a cannula.
Currently, there are two tubed insulin pumps: Medtronic and the Tandem TSlim Insulin Pump (which is the one we currently use for our daughter).
Best Insulin Pump
Your child’s insulin needs and preferences are unique, which means the best pump for your kid is different from what might be good for someone else.
So it can take a little time to find out if one of these pumps will work well with your child personally.
You first want to make sure that you meet with a Certified Diabetes Educator who has experience in all types of brands.
They will be able to guide you on what better suits your child and their lifestyle.
At times, there are some Endocrinologist’s offices that will allow you to have a demo device to try at home!
Features to Look For
Thinking of what features are important to you is a difficult task.
You need to consider and decide between tubed or tube-free, an integrated continuous glucose monitor for better control with the ability for the pump to shut off in case of low blood sugar levels based on continuous glucometer readings, color screens vs black and white touch screen display options as well as battery type (i.e., rechargeable lithium-ion batteries) vs charging methods such as traditional plugging into the wall socket!
Of course, you should also think about infusion set types including size, weight durability if waterproofing would be helpful too!
Multiple Daily Injections
Multiple Daily Injections (MDI) are insulin injections with needles given in the stomach, leg or arm.
Long-acting insulin like Lantus, is usually done twice a day, morning and evening. Fast-acting insulin, like Novolog, can be given multiple times a day, depending on what the child is going to eat, and if they have a high glucose level.
Since most children are unable to inject themselves, parents and/or caregivers need to follow the insulin plan given by the Diabetes Care team and give these injections.
Benefits and Drawbacks
There are mixed reviews on MDI being easy or challenging.
Some parents find that MDI is easier because there’s no need for pre-planning or multiple daily adjustments like with an insulin pump.
Multiple daily injections offer advantages in terms of flexibility and the ability to control blood sugar levels as needed without requiring a large up-front cost as it can occur with an insulin pump.
Multiple daily injections are an effective type of treatment for type 1 diabetes. They will require you to inject insulin into your child’s body every day, multiple times during the day.
The major drawback associated with multiple daily injections would have to be the possible pain, and/or fear of injections.
Which option will you pick for your child? Insulin pump or injections.
Let’s explore the advantages and disadvantages of each one so that you can make an educated decision about which is the best fit for your family.
The insulin pump has many benefits, such as giving kids more freedom to do what they want without having to worry about remembering if their next dose was in a few hours ago or not.
Another great benefit is that it teaches children how much food equals a certain amount of carbs instead of just counting carbohydrates on a meal-by-meal basis–this makes life easier when calculating carbohydrate intake throughout the day.
However, some people are scared by needles and multiple daily injections can be difficult to accomplish with school schedules, extracurricular activities, and other commitments.
Now you can make an informed decision on which option will work best for your child who has type 1 diabetes.