Latest Catalogue Diabetes - Devices

Diabetes - Devices

DEFINITION

Diabetes is a condition characterised by difficulty in controlling blood sugar levels. People with Type I diabetes and some people with Type II diabetes need regular injections of insulin. This topic discusses the devices available to deliver insulin injections.


DESCRIPTION

Insulin cannot be taken by mouth because it is a protein and would be digested. Insulin must be given by injection which delivers the drug just under the skin where it is absorbed into the bloodstream. The following insulin delivery devices can be used by people with Diabetes.
Syringe
Injection by syringe requires inserting the syringe under the skin and pressing the plunger to deliver the insulin.
Insulin Pens
Insulin pens look like a pen with a cartridge. They offer a discreet and convenient way of carrying insulin and needles. The tip of the pen is a fine needle and the insulin is held in a cartridge in the body of the pen. Insulin is delivered by turning a dial to select the desired dose and pressing a plunger at the end of the pen. Some pens are reusable while others are disposable.
External Insulin Pumps
Insulin pumps are mechanical devices that are programmed by the user to deliver insulin under the skin via a thin plastic tube and needle inserted into the abdomen (the needle is changed approximately every 2-3 days). The insulin pump and reservoir of insulin is contained in a small plastic case about the size of a beeper. Insulin pumps are designed to deliver insulin continuously over a 24-hour period in small amounts, keeping blood glucose levels within the desired range between meals and overnight. The user can Programme 'bolus' doses during meals to match the amount of food being consumed. Insulin pumps are a very intensive way of managing diabetes and require frequent blood glucose monitoring.


TREATMENT OPTIONS

Always consult your Doctor for diagnosis and advice. In no way is this information intended to replace the advice of a medical practitioner.
Discuss the types of insulin delivery available to you with your Doctor or diabetes educator. It is important to be aware that not all methods of delivery are suitable for all people. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages. Discuss any problems with taking your insulin with your health care professional. It is your body and your responsibility. Don't be afraid to ask queries of your Doctor, Diabetes Educator or Pharmacist.


ORGANISATIONS & SUPPORT GROUPS

See the Diabetes Australia topic on the Healthpoint.


PHARMACIST'S ADVICE

Ask your Pharmacist for advice.
1) Your Pharmacist can advise you on the correct use of insulin injection devices and their advantages and disadvantages.
2) Pharmacies stock a variety of insulin injection devices and blood glucose monitors.
3) Your Pharmacist is part of your Diabetes management team. A Pharmacist can give you information about the medicines you are prescribed, including potential side effects, interactions with other medications, storage, strengths and dosage.
4) A range of products have been designed to make living with diabetes easier. Your Pharmacist can advise you on the products most appropriate to your needs.
5) If dietary intake is inadequate, your Pharmacist may be able to recommend dietary supplements as part of an optimal nutrition programme.
6) See the other Diabetes topics on the Healthpoint.