Hello to my fellow diabetic or a mama/papa to a diabetic, I have had Type 1 Diabetes for 11 years...wow!! In honor of my diagnosis I wrote this blog post regarding my experience of giving multiple daily injections versus wearing an insulin pump. After all this time, I’ve used each method for about 5 years each. Hopefully this helps if you're considering one or the other! Email me here with any questions!
xo- Charlotte Faith
Let’s talk Insulin pens vs. pumps:
For preference, insulin pens have prefilled glass cartridges (sometimes there is plastic that surrounds the glass cartridge) of insulin. This is a hormone your pancreas produces which moves glucose into your body’s tissue. An insulin pump comes with empty insulin cartridges that we manually fill every 3(ish) days with the glass vial.
*Disclaimer* I have only used Medtronic pumps, which have tubing attached. The pro and con list will be based using this apparatus.
Insulin Pen Pros:
-Fashion Freedom! Definitely a “girly thing” but it is so nice to wear anything you want without having a bulky box attached to you.
-Peace of mind! I feel much more confident that I've received injections for the full dosage and can visually see if any insulin leaked out.
-More site rotation! More site locations to move injection sites around. Places I wouldn't put a pump but know I can “pinch an inch” to give a shot.
-Faster insulin delivery! When on shots the insulin is delivered much faster than a pump which means less wait time before a meal.
-Exercise Freedom! I can keep my insulin safely set to the side when riding horses, or going for a jog. No need to unclip anything!
Insulin Pen Cons:
-More to keep up with: There are two sets of pens, needle caps and alcohol swabs. Luckily I love purses and don’t usually mind the responsibility, but I have accidently left my pens on a dining table before… let’s just say, it was tragic.
-Chances of pain: Unfortunately with many more needle pricks you do take the chance of having one, two (or 6) that cause you pain in a day.
-More to think: With insulin pens, snacking can be very inconvenient because you’ll have to give Another shot, instead of just hitting a few buttons.
Insulin Pump Pros:
-Discrete delivery! Great when you’re out to dinner, with just a few pushes of buttons and you’re insulin is discreetly delivered.
-Less to pack! Because your insulin is attached to your hip, there is less supplies to pack for day trips.
-Convenient for corrections! Whenever you’ve had a meal and decided shortly after you are going to want dessert you can just push a button and deliver more insulin.
-Precision! With an insulin pump you can give very accurate and exact dosages such as 4.125 units of insulin. This helps avoid highs and lows!
-Fewer needle pricks! Only having to change your site every 3(ish) days means less needles aka less pain!
Insulin pump Cons:
-Uncertainty: If you have a stubborn high blood sugar with your pump there is always the question if your insulin was delivered or not.
-Higher risk of infection: With tubbing stuck in your skin, in the same place for 3(ish) days you run the risk of getting an infection at the site.
-Pump malfunctions: There is more involved with an insulin pump which means more to "go wrong". Such as batteries dying, kinked tubing, catheter insertion, etc. With all of these working in order it’s great, but the truth is that it’s not that uncommon to have one of these go wrong.
-Tied down: With the pump I had it was to be worn 24-7 (except for water activities). Which means, it's hanging off my body when sleeping, getting dressed, riding horses, etc. The tubbing can get caught on things (door handles) and rip out... ouch. Also for a girl who Loves to wear dresses, my pump never had a spot to clip onto which made me often not wear what I wanted.
Currently I am on multiple daily injections and really enjoying it! But as mentioned, there are pros and cons to each method. I hope this helps you determine what is right for You! There is no "better way" when it comes to insulin delivery. Just finding what works for your lifestyle is the important part!
See my latest youtube video here on how to reload a re-usable insulin pen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MQ8d11GN_g
Cheers to my Diaversary!