Injections are probably one of the worst aspects of being diabetic. Diabetics in times past used to have to dip large needles in boiling water, before injecting themselves with it. Nowadays, diabetics are "luckier". New technologies are always springing up and the latest idea in terms of insulin intake is called an insulin pump.
An insulin pump is a small device similar in size to a pack of cards, which looks similar to a pager. Inside is a reservoir containing insulin, which is attached to the diabetic via a long piece of thin tubing. At the end of this tubing is a needle or cannula inserted under the skin, enabling the insulin to flow into the diabetic's body. The pump is not automatic, but is programmed to deliver insulin constantly, at varying rates which the diabetic determines. This means that there is no more need for injections for the "insulin-pumper".
Opinions on whether the insulin pump is safe or not is divided and it is clear that is not popular in Britain as only 1 in 1000 type 1 diabetics are "insulin-pumpers". This is a very small number when compared to the figure in Germany where 1 in 7 type 1 diabetics use an insulin pump. In the US, 1 in 8 type 1 diabetics use an insulin pump.
One of the most important advantages of using an insulin pump is the fact that "pumpers" can customise their insulin doses and therefore establish more control.
The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists published a report showing that people who use pumps have better control of their blood sugar levels partially because they are able to adjust mealtime doses.
Another way of avoiding injections with needles is to use needle-free injection systems. These systems use pressure to create a micro-thin stream of insulin that penetrates the skin and is deposited into the subcutaneous (fatty) tissue in a fraction of a second. The only current drawback to this kind of injection is that it is currently not as accurate as using a syringe. The picture above is of the Medi-Ject Vision needle-free injection system.