Tubeless insulin pump gives independence to active diabetics - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Tubeless insulin pump gives independence to active diabetics

Breanna Watkins shows Dr. Atif Jadoon her OmniPod at Lake Area Medical Center. (Source: KPLC) Breanna Watkins shows Dr. Atif Jadoon her OmniPod at Lake Area Medical Center. (Source: KPLC)

Pricks, prods, and injections are part of life for most people living with Type 1 or juvenile diabetes.  Technology is cutting the intrusive wires of pumps and making managing this disease much easier.  A couple of newer age gadgets are helping one young lady keep dancing.

Dancing has always been a passion of 18-year-old Breanna Watkins.  

"I do hip-hop and contemporary," she said.  "I also instruct at the studio where I dance."

In the midst of all of that activity, Breanna has to manage a chronic disease: Type 1 diabetes, something she was diagnosed with at age four.  She has endured countless finger sticks and injections, but now a tubeless insulin pump called an OmniPod is making her life easier.

"Nobody can really notice it and they're not like, 'is that your pager, is that your cellphone or something like that.'  It just makes me feel normal," said Breanna.

It might look like Breanna is texting on a cell phone with the small device she holds, but she is actually showing her blood sugar levels to Lake Area Medical Center Diabetes Program Medical Director, Dr. Atif Jadoon.

He says the tubeless pump is superior to a patient administering multiple insulin injections, because it can give a range of dosages. 

"With these insulin pumps, you can change the dose if you are eating a little more if you are exercising a little more, you can decrease the dose," said Dr. Jadoon.

Here's how it works: the patient attaches the OmniPod to the body, Breanna switches between arms and her hip, and it is wirelessly linked to the personal diabetes manager or PDM.

"For three days, this device will keep giving you insulin at a constant rate that has been set," said Dr. Jadoon.

A continuous glucose monitor checks the blood sugar every five minutes.

"You can see how the blood sugars are running on this device and you can realize if it's going up or going down, if they are doing good, and accordingly you can adjust your dose of insulin," said Dr. Jadoon.

Patients fill the pod with insulin every three days.

Breanna does not have to remove it for showering, swimming, or dancing.  She says she wants to show that you can control your diabetes and it does not have to control you.

"I want the diabetic that says, 'I did it.  I keep my blood sugars under control,'" said Breanna.  "I want to be a good role model for the rest of the diabetics."

For the best diabetes management using the OmniPod, patients input the carbohydrate amounts for the food they eat and any changes with exercise levels.

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