Sleeker, Slimmer Insulin Pumps Will Improve the Lives of Diabetics

Illustration for article titled Sleeker, Slimmer Insulin Pumps Will Improve the Lives of Diabetics

Insulin pumps can be an easier way to deal with type 1 diabetes, but only 20 to 30 percent of the country who rely on insulin use them because they're usually not very discreet. The t:slim, however, looks as sleek as a smartphone, and even features a touchscreen UI so it's easier to carry and less conspicuous to use in public.

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About as large as a credit card, the t:slim is 25 percent thinner than traditional insulin pumps, measuring about as thick as your average smartphone. It uses a rechargeable battery and replaceable insulin cartridges for both bolus (a fast acting large dose) and basal (a low continuous dose) deliveries, while a full color touchscreen display makes it easier to navigate settings menus and monitor its performance. And besides charging, a micro-USB port allows usage data and statistics for the past 90 days to be uploaded to a website so users can monitor their progress and better manage their condition.

But since the t:slim was only just approved by the FDA, diabetics finally willing to make the switch from needle injections are going to have to wait until the middle of next year while the company behind the new pump works to get their product support infrastructure in place. [t:slim via Popular Science]

DISCUSSION

As one of three type 1 diabetics in my immediate family (dad, sis, myself), I was the last of us to switch over from needles to an insulin pump. All three of us are using Medtronic pumps of different iterations, with my dad's being the oldest (about five years). I held out the longest mainly because I didn't like the idea of having something "hanging off me", and I have to say that was an absolutely stupid way of thinking on my part.

All three of our pumps are approximately the same size (not much bigger than a pager), and I can't stress enough the convenience of carrying it. My dad and I both carry ours in clip / slip-on style cell phone holders, and it's so inconspicuous that the only time it gets in the way is when I go to put a seatbelt on. This is all of a few seconds extra to adjust it out of the way, and then it's back to being unoticeable. When I'm home I take it out of the case and just stick it in my pocket, and while sleeping I just put it to my side.

I have to say, looking at that image, that touchscreen pump looks to be larger than the ones we carry, which I'd actually say makes it more inconvenient. That aside, I have to strongly urge anyone who's a type 1 diabetic to switch from being a human pincushion to the pump setup. You'll find it makes managing your diabetes a whole lot easier (and "interactive", in a way), than just sticking yourself.