Children invited to ‘Insulin Pump and Blood Glucose Meter Fair’
The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital Jenny Lind Children’s Diabetes team is running its eighth Insulin Pump Fair on Tuesday 5th July. To mark the occasion the two Bertram Brothers, the sons of Diabetes Centre’s namesake Elsie Bertram, will be hosting a ‘Bertram lounge’ for patients to ask questions. Guest speakers will also be presenting in the lecture theatre.
Children and Young people with Type 1 diabetes have been offered insulin pumps at NNUH since 2003 and around half of children with diabetes in Norwich are now on an insulin pump to control their glucose levels, the youngest ‘pumper’ started at just five months of age.
The Children’s Diabetes team is able to offer different pumps to suit the different needs that children and their families have. The annual information evening, is being held in the Benjamin Gooch Lecture Theatre between 4pm – 7pm, and will allow children and their parents to find out about the different insulin pumps available.
Insulin pumps allow patients to control the flow of insulin into the bloodstream round-the-clock via a small battery-operated pump connected via a tiny needle, or canula, in the skin. This cannula needs to be changed every few days, compared with needing insulin injections several times a day. The pump calculates the insulin dose according to how much carbohydrate the child is eating.
Some children benefit from new kinds of glucose monitors which work continuously, to give an instant read-out of blood glucose – this is particularly important in young children, or older patients who are struggling with frequent low blood glucose levels (“hypos”). The improved safety that these advanced glucose monitors can bring, gives great peace of mind to parents and carers.
Type 1 Diabetes is an Auto Immune condition where the immune system destroys the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas and is influenced by genes, not lifestyle. Insulin is a protein and cannot be swallowed meaning it has to be given through the skin – either by injection, or using an insulin pump. In younger patients this can be difficult to manage and families/carers have to make very complicated insulin dose adjustments taking into account a child’s food intake, glucose levels whilst making allowances for exercise, illness, stress and emotions too.
If not managed correctly, continued high glucose levels can cause damage to the body, leading to problems such as kidney disease, blindness or cardiovascular disease (heart attacks or strokes). Currently, insulin is the only treatment for Type 1 Diabetes, unlike Type 2 diabetes, for which there are many drugs, as well as insulin.
Paul Hill, NNUH Children’s Diabetes Specialist Nurse (CDSN) at the Jenny Lind Children’s Hospital, part of a team of five CDSN’s commented: “Insulin pumps – for the right person and with the right training and support can massively improve glucose levels and quality of life – and this is really important in reducing complications of diabetes in the long run. However, insulin pumps still need a big commitment from the child and their family to monitor glucose levels, count carbohydrates and problem-solve many times per day. Insulin pumps can transform lives for children with diabetes.”