Many people think that if you live with type 2 diabetes and use insulin pump therapy, it means you’ve failed in managing your diabetes. Unfortunately, it’s a misconception that Medtronic Diabetes Clinical Manager, Beth Spencer Kline, MSN, RN, NP-C, CDE, hears too often from patients. Type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease, and exercise and eating right is always important, but over time, patients may need to change their insulin regimen to make sure their blood glucose is in a healthy range. Being passionate about type 2 diabetes weight management, co-morbid diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, Beth is here today to address common misconceptions many people have about type 2 diabetes and insulin pump therapy.
Umbrellas Don’t Cause Rain: Lessons Learned as a New Healthcare Professional
Despite studying how to manage disease in school, most of the learning is on the job. We walk into new jobs, ready to save the world one patient at a time, thinking we have all of the answers, and it’s easy to prescribe medication and make everything better. It doesn’t take long to realize medicine doesn’t work like that. It’s as much of an art as a science.
Many seasoned healthcare professionals who work with patients who have diabetes would probably tell you they’ve learned the most about diabetes from their patients. Two of the most important things I’ve learned working with people with diabetes in the last 10 years is diabetes is a disease everyone seems to have an opinion about, and has a lot of misplaced judgment and surrounding myths.
I’ll never forget, when I was a new nurse practitioner, I had a patient with type 2 diabetes who was afraid to start insulin due to his misguided fear that taking insulin would cause blindness and the need for dialysis. We had a long discussion that it is not insulin, but uncontrolled diabetes that can cause these complications. His sister’s response, “So, it’s kind of like an umbrella… carrying it doesn’t make it rain, you carry it because it is raining.” Exactly…she nailed it…umbrellas don’t cause rain!
Stop the Blame Game
Patients considering insulin pump therapy often approach me with misconceptions. Sometimes they hear from a friend, family member, or even another healthcare professional, “Oh, you’re going on a pump? You must be really bad. Only people with poorly managed diabetes go on the pump.” This is simply not true. We need to stop the blame game and guilt when it comes to diabetes, starting with ourselves. Many people with diabetes feel like failures because they cannot get their blood glucose under control. Many people on multiple daily injections (MDI), for various reasons, find adhering to insulin therapy to be challenging. In fact, according to Diabetes Care, 57% of people on MDI therapy admit to omitting insulin injections.(1)
Just because it can be difficult to comply with an insulin therapy routine 100% of the time does not make you a failure, it makes you human. My 9-month-old son was recently sick, and had to take different medications six times a day on an empty stomach. I’d be lying if I told you he got each medication dose exactly as prescribed. That doesn’t mean I’m a bad mother, or that I’m “non-compliant”. It means I’m human, and doing the best I can with a complex medication regimen. Similarly, we need to be more understanding when it comes to compliance in insulin regimens.
Easier Way to Gain Control and Prevent Complications
Being on MDI can mean taking more than 90 injections per month, compared to only 10-12 insertion set changes per month with insulin pump therapy. When patients go on the pump, they receive a continuous infusion of insulin, and are able to stop taking long acting insulin shots. On the pump, they are able to eat when they want and go on outings without worrying about injections. By just pressing a couple of buttons on the pump, they can administer meal time bolus insulin. In the recent OpT2mise clinical trial, study participants with type 2 diabetes on insulin pump demonstrated a mean reduction in A1C levels by 1.1%, versus only 0.4% for participants using MDI, and twice as many participants on insulin pump therapy achieved an A1C less than 8% than those on MDI.(2)
So, if your healthcare provider speaks to you regarding insulin pump therapy, please do not make the mistake of feeling like a failure. Instead, look at it as an opportunity to help take control of your health and diabetes. Remember, you are human, and it’s okay to not be a “perfect” patient. Stand tall and feel confident in yourself, despite what the outside voices may say. By choosing insulin pump therapy, you are making a large stride towards becoming a healthier version of yourself so you can better manage your diabetes with fewer restrictions on your quality of life.
- Peyrot et al (2010) Correlates of insulin injection omission, Diabetes Care 33:240-245.
- (2014). Insulin pump treatment compared with multiple daily injections for treatment of type 2 diabetes (OpT2mise): A randomised open-label controlled trial. The Lancet, 384(9950), 1265–1272-1265–1272.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
– Medtronic Diabetes insulin infusion pumps, continuous glucose monitoring systems and associated components are limited to sale by or on the order of a physician and should only be used under the direction of a healthcare professional familiar with the risks associated with the use of these systems.
– Successful operation of the insulin infusion pumps and/or continuous glucose monitoring systems requires adequate vision and hearing to recognize alerts and alarms.
Medtronic Diabetes Insulin Infusion Pumps
– Insulin pump therapy is not recommended for individuals who are unable or unwilling to perform a minimum of four blood glucose tests per day.
– Insulin pumps use rapid-acting insulin. If your insulin delivery is interrupted for any reason, you must be prepared to replace the missed insulin immediately.
Please visit http://www.medtronicdiabetes.com/important-safety-information for complete safety information.
Tags: insulin pump therapy
, Type 2 diabetes