Saturday, 23 March 2019

New type one diabetes pump changing lives

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Managing type one diabetes is difficult enough for adults, but imagine if you’re an active kid? Now new technology is making managing this disease a little easier, even for younger children.

Like most teenagers, Colton Smith is extremely active. 

He says, “I play outside linebacker.” 

So it was quite a shock when Colton was diagnosed with type one diabetes at the age of 14. 

He continues, “It was kind of out of the blue.” 

Doctor Miladys Palau says the diagnosis changes families forever. 

Dr. Palau, Pediatric Endocrinologist, Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, explains, “When you have type one diabetes you actually have to think like you’re a pancreas.” 

The challenge is regulating blood sugar levels. Colton was getting up to eight shots of insulin a day. His mom was concerned about him playing football.

Jean Smith, Colton’s mom, says, “My worry was ok he’s going to lay flat on the field and he’s going to be out, you know.” 

Dr. Palau says exercise can have an effect on blood sugar levels up to 12 hours later. That’s where the Minimed 670-g system by Medtronic comes in. The pump has a glucose sensor that measures blood sugars every five minutes.

Dr. Palau explains, “The pump has a computer algorithm that can calculate the rate of rises and drops in blood sugar and deliver the insulin.” 

So Colton can set it and forget it when he hits the field. 

Colton says, “I just disconnect it from me and give it to my trainer to hold onto during the game, then when it’s over I just reconnect and I’m good to go.” 

And because the system is able to adjust the amount of insulin the patient is getting, there’s no more worries overnight. 

Dr. Palau says, “It will send an alert to the parents and let them know that the blood sugar is low and they need to come fix the problem.” 

Colton says the pump has been a game changer! 

He adds, “I don’t find myself worrying about it and I get to enjoy life a lot better.” 

Helping to make this disease more manageable for families. Studies show patients using the 670-g pump spend up to 75 percent of their time in the target range for blood sugars. 

The pump is covered by most insurance companies. 


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