So we’ve gone through the differences between MDI and pump therapy. In the end though, a lot of it comes down to personal preference. However, we can’t ignore the fact that there’s lots of scientific evidence how MDI and pump therapy compare.
Researchers from all over the world have found some really important benefits. When compared to multiple daily injections, using pump therapy…
…. gives better control of blood glucose levels
Lots of studies have been done to find the best ways to keep blood glucose levels under control. Researchers have found that insulin pump treatment consistently provides better HbA1c control compared with multiple daily injections, without a higher rate of hypoglycaemia. (1, 2, 3) This makes sense, because pump therapy is more precise, consistent and adaptable than MDI. It delivers tiny doses of fast-acting insulin so you can make small corrections in your glucose level when you need to.
…. improves your quality of life
A large, high-quality study from the UK found that people using insulin pumps had better quality of life than those using multiple daily injections in two important areas. The first was less restriction in diet and fewer ‘daily hassles’.(4) The second was that pump users were also more satisfied with their treatment overall than injectors. A second study found that using a pump helped people to worry less about their diabetes compared with multiple daily injections. (5) So to cut a long story short, pumps can help you live life on your own terms!
….has added benefits before and during pregnancy
Poor glucose control at conception and during pregnancy is risky both for mother and baby. It increases the risk of birth defects and long-term developmental issues.(6) But keeping your blood sugar levels under tight control is especially hard in pregnancy, as levels can rapidly change (e.g. as glucose passes across the placenta from mother to baby). And don’t forget about the fact that regular eating patterns are disrupted by nausea and strange food cravings. Using an insulin pump can therefore be a great way to help keep blood glucose levels under tight control during this crucial time.
And the benefits can continue after the baby is born, as a pump may fit better with the unpredictable schedule of life with a newborn! Researchers have found that new mothers who first started on an insulin pump during pregnancy to help keep their blood glucose under tighter control, often want to continue their use of pumps after pregnancy due to the flexibility they provide. (7)
… gives you a data goldmine
Insulin pumps can store loads of data, which can be really helpful in tracking your progress and refining your future treatment plans. For example, the Kaleido handset stores up to 90 days of information about your blood glucose levels and insulin delivery. It’s all downloadable so you can keep it as long as you like, and upload it to diabetes management tools. Again, it’s all about giving you more control.
Despite all these benefits of insulin pumps, it is important to keep in mind that they are not a cure for diabetes. All treatment methods need ongoing support to be as beneficial as possible. Education and regular follow-up care is vital to ensure pumper therapy is working for you the best it can.
1 Fatourechi MM, Kudva YC, Murad MH, et al. Hypoglycemia with intensive insulin therapy: a systematic review and meta analyses of randomized trials of CSII versus MDI. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2009;94:729-40.
2 Jeitler K, Horvath K, Berghold A, et al Continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion versus multiple daily insulin injections in patients with diabetes mellitus: systematic review and meta-analysis. Diabetologia2008;51:941-51.
3 Monami M, Lamanna C, Marchionni N, et al. CSII versus MDI in type 1 diabetes: a meta-analysis. Acta Diabetol2010;47:77-81.
4 Relative effectiveness of insulin pump treatment over multiple daily injections and structured education during flexible intensive insulin treatment for type 1 diabetes: cluster randomised trial (REPOSE)
5 Barnard, Katharine D., and T. Chas Skinner. “Cross‐sectional study into quality of life issues surrounding insulin pump use in type 1 diabetes.” Practical Diabetes International 25.5 (2008): 194-200.
6 Castorino, Kristin, et al. “Insulin pumps in pregnancy: using technology to achieve normoglycemia in women with diabetes.” Current diabetes reports 12.1 (2012): 53-59.
7 Gabbe, S., Holing, E., Temple, P., & Brown, Z. (2000). Benefits, risks, costs, and patient satisfaction associated with insulin pump therapy for the pregnancy complicated by type 1 diabetes mellitus. American Journal Of Obstetrics And Gynecology, 182(6), 1283-1291. doi: 10.1067/mob.2000.106182