A new evidence review suggests that using a pump to deliver insulin continuously — instead of taking three or more daily injections — might result in better control of blood sugar for people with type 1 diabetes.
“The findings of this review tell us that both continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion and multiple injections correct blood glucose levels. However, [continuous infusion] may be better for reducing harmful fluctuations in blood glucose,” said lead author Marie Misso, Ph.D.
Type 1 diabetes — which used to be known as juvenile diabetes — results when the pancreas is not able to secrete enough insulin, causing the levels of glucose (or sugar) in the blood to rise.
Chronically high blood glucose can lead to heart attacks, circulation problems and blindness. Low levels can lead to unconsciousness and even death. Type 1 diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood.
Most people with the condition control their glucose by injecting themselves with insulin three or more times per day. Others choose to use a pump, which gives continual, smaller doses of insulin without the discomfort of injections.
“There are numerous studies that evaluate these treatments, but most are of poor quality,” said Misso, a research fellow at the Monash Institute of Health Services Research in Clayton, Australia. “So there has been uncertainty about which treatment is best for maintaining consistent levels of blood glucose and reducing harmful fluctuations.”
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