Insulin Pumps-The Future of Diabetes? - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

10/5/02-Tyler

Insulin Pumps-The Future of Diabetes?

   New research can mean new treatments for those living with diabetes. Just in the last five years, an invention called the insulin pump has won many fans who suffer from the illness. One of them, a young girl in Trinidad, Texas.

   The pump is the size of a pager, and it's something 11-year old Hannah Chambers and her parents waited years for. Hannah's doctor, Meg Reitmeyer with Mother Frances, says the insulin pump is giving her patients something they've never had before -- absolute freedom.

   "The pumps are generally designed for people with type one diabetes, or what we used to call juvenile diabetes," says Dr. Reitmeyer. "What they do is replace the need to do injections several times a day, because the insulin runs 24 hours a day at rates we program in the computer."

   Hannah's had the pump for six months. To her, it means less discomfort.

   "I just get a shot every three days, instead of three times a day."

   The pump is simple in nature. A little tube is inserted into Hannah's body by needle. The needle is then removed, but the tube stays under Hannah's skin. And if Hannah eats too much or exercises more, she can simply adjust her insulin intake to maintain her blood sugar level.

   "She used to go out and play and get exerted, and exhausted," said Hannah's dad, Glenn Murrah. "Her sugar would go down, but this [the pump] just levels it out."

   Dr. Reitmeyer says she started more than 100 people on the pump.

   "I hear parents say things like, 'I feel I have my child back', she says. "The parents aren't having to chase the kids around with a needle and give them injections."

   Hannah's mom has similar emotions.

   "Before when she'd spend the night with someone, and I'd have to call and make sure she was up to check her blood sugar," says Lisa Murrah. "But now, that she's wearing the pump she can sleep in."

   Experts say within ten years, pumps will be able to monitor blood sugar levels on their own. Researchers are already discussing pumps for other diabetes types, says Dr.Reitmeyer. Currently, only type-1 applies.

   If you'd like to know more about diabetes, Trinity Mother Frances is holding a diabetes education fair on November first. The event runs from 1 to 7p.m. For more information, you can call 531-4848.

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