Sunday, 14 September 2014

Insulin pumps 'more effective than injections' for type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a condition whereby the body is unable to produce or use the hormone insulin effectively, resulting in high blood sugar levels. Over time, high blood sugar levels can cause nerve damage, stroke, and kidney, eye or heart diseases.

In some cases, the condition can be managed through diet or blood sugar-lowering medication, such as metformin. But in many cases, a patient may require multiple daily doses of insulin delivered by injection into the abdomen, upper arms, thighs or buttocks.

However, researchers from France note that around a third of patients that manage their condition with insulin injections have problems achieving the optimal level of blood sugar.

With this in mind, the team decided to compare the effectiveness of insulin injections against insulin pumps - small portable, computerized devices that deliver continuous doses of insulin through a catheter places under the skin.

After 6 months of treatment, the researchers found that the blood sugar levels of participants who used insulin pumps were on average 0.7% lower than those of participants who used multiple insulin injections. Furthermore, 55% of participants who used insulin pumps reached the HbA1c target range of 8% or less (an indicator of a patient's blood sugar levels over the past 2-3 months ), compared with only 28% of participants who used insulin injections. Those who used insulin pumps also spent 3 hours less a day experiencing hyperglycemia - high blood sugar levels.

Pumps enhance effective insulin absorption and increase insulin sensitivity thanks to the continuous daily subcutaneous insulin delivery.

These findings open up a valuable new treatment option for those individuals failing on current injection regimens and may also provide improved convenience, reducing the burden of dose tracking and scheduling, and decreasing insulin injection omissions

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