Recently I have acquired an insulin pump (Tandem T:slim) and it has made managing my diabetes so much easier. I essentially have insulin-on-demand now and no longer have to carry so many “diabetic supplies” such as my insulin pens (Humalog and Lantus) and extra pen needles. You no longer need to have two different types of insulin with a pump (fast acting and long acting) because you use fast acting insulin to compensate for the long acting insulin. It really has given me more control over my diabetes, therefore giving me more control over my life. I highly recommend any one who does not use an insulin pump to seriously consider getting one. Granted, they are not for every one but all I ask is you do not automatically rule it out.
About a week ago my new t:slim pump arrived and I am absolutely loving it. Like I said it has really changed how I manage my diabetes. The t:slim has so many great features that really make it stand out and truly makes it a great pump.
First off Tandem has truly revolutionized the actual pumping technology of the insulin pump. They have developed a micro-delivery system to disperse the insulin in bursts rather than in one steady stream. Other pumps use a system that is essentially an electronic syringe whereas the t:slim uses an electronic syringe system with an addition of a device that separates the insulin into smaller doses. It was developed as a safety feature so you cannot not receive one big dose of insulin but rather several small ones. As an example say you need a bolus of 8 units, instead of getting all 8 at once the t:slim would give you 2u-2u-2u-2u over the course of a second. This video will display the micro-delivery system technology better:
Color Touch Screen
Another great feature of the t:slim is the color touch screen. The color screen makes the pump much more pleasant to look at while the touch screen makes it very user friendly. “But what if you accidentally hit the screen and administer a bolus to kill all other boluses?” Good question! The pump has a lock screen which you have to tap buttons in a sequential order to unlock, so it is nearly impossible that you will pocket bolus. On the screen itself, it displays graphics in the corners to let you know exactly how much battery life you have and how much insulin is left in the reservoir. Along the bottom of the screen, the pump shows you the Insulin on Board (IOB: the insulin still in your system) and well as the time remaining until the insulin is no longer in your system. This really gives you a good idea how much insulin to take and keeps you from “stacking” your insulin which can often lead to a low blood sugar disaster.
Bolus and Basal Insulin
The pump also has some unique features when it comes managing and using your insulin. You can set your basal rate down to the third decimal place. Mine right now (I am still fiddling with the numbers a little bit) is .487, which means that every hour I receive .487 units for a total of 11.7 units over 24 hours. The three decimal places really gives you a lot of control over your basal rates and provides greater accuracy when setting your rates. You can also setup temporary basal rates for times when you are sick/stressed, have low/high blood sugars, disconnecting for a couple hours, or anything that requires an altered basal rate.
In the course of making a profile (which stores all your info) you will input values for your insulin to carb ratio, a correction factor, and your ideal blood sugar level. The insulin to carb ratio means 1 unit of insulin counteracts X grams of carbs. The correction factor is a ratio that represents 1 unit of insulin lowers your blood sugar X mg/dL. When administering a bolus, the pump takes into account your current blood sugar level, the amount of carbs you are about to eat, the IOB, the correction factor, and the carb ratio to give you a projection/recommendation for a bolus amount to keep you at your target blood sugar level. Of course you can manually change the recommendation if you feel it is too much/not enough insulin. The pump also has a quick bolus feature which allows you set a desired insulin amount and can administer it with the touch of a button. You can also extend a bolus meaning you can administer X% of a bolus now and X% at a later time which is good for long periods of snacking or maybe even pizza.
Other Nice Features
- Water tight up to 3 ft for 30 minutes
- 300 unit insulin reservoir
- USB conectivity
- T:connect application to keep track of insulin usage and other diabetes data
- Alerts and reminders (re-test blood sugar after low/high, low insulin the reservoir, low battery, bolus not delivered, etc.)
This is just a brief overview of the Tandem t:slim’s more unique features. If you want to find out more about this pump you can check YouTube for more videos and you can also check out there website here. As I mentioned before the pump has been life changing and seriously recommend people to check out the t:slim and insulin pumps in general.