People with Diabetes in the UK and Ireland will be the first to gain access to a new insulin pump which can protect against severe hypoglycaemia, even during sleep.
Medtronic’s Paradigm VeoTM System combines insulin pump therapy with continuous blood glucose monitoring by way of a separate sensor and transmitter. It has the capability to automatically suspend insulin delivery when blood glucose levels become to low, giving protection against hypoglycaemia. This is useful for when the wearer is asleep or not able to react to falling blood glucose levels.
In addition to automatic protection against hypoglycaemia, the pump enables the wearer to take glucose readings from the device’s monitor in conjunction with occasional finger prick tests in order to program the device to administer the correct dosage of insulin. Users can also input a threshold below which their blood glucose must not fall.
For many patients with type 1 diabetes, hypoglycaemia can be one of the most frightening aspects of living with the condition. If left untreated it can cause unconsciousness, seizure, coma or can even be fatal.
Whilst some people with type 1 diabetes experience warning signs to indicate that their blood sugar level is too low such as shakiness, sweating, confusion and irritability, some do not experience any warning signs at all which can be very dangerous.
Research published in the journal Diabetes Care has indicated that on average each year nearly one in 14 people with insulin-treated diabetes will experience one or more episodes of severe hypoglycaemia which requires urgent treatment by a healthcare professional. Other research published in the British Medical Journal says that a third of people with diabetes suffer from hypoglycaemia whilst they are asleep, which may impair their ability to recognise or act to prevent a severe episode.
For people with type 1 diabetes who have poor control of their blood sugar levels and who experience many hypos including at night, the new device will be welcoming news.
Dr Peter Hammond, Consultant Diabetologist at Harrogate Hospital, says ‘This latest technology is a significant breakthrough which will help people with diabetes to control their condition. Paradigm Veo alerts the patient if their glucose levels drop too low, and stops them getting more insulin if they don’t respond to the alert. This will have a huge impact on the patient’s quality of life, giving them greater flexibility and reducing anxiety, and protecting them against the long-term health complications of diabetes.’
The pump is only available for people with type 1 diabetes. There are strict guidelines for prescription of an insulin pump if you have the condition. See your diabetes healthcare professional for more advice.