Insulin Pancreas


By Gary Scheiner, MS CDE

How does a pump mimic a pancreas?

Insulin Pump

The human body stores sugar in the liver. Throughout the day and night, the liver releases small amounts of sugar into the bloodstream so that we always have fuel available to burn for energy. To help shuttle the sugar into the body's cells (and maintain the blood sugar at a steady level), the pancreas releases insulin into the bloodstream every few minutes. When we eat food that contains carbohydrates (sugar or starch), the blood sugar level rises quickly and the pancreas releases a large amount of insulin to prevent the blood sugar level from rising too high. The insulin pump is like the human pancreas by automatically releasing small amounts of fast-acting insulin (in tenths or hundreths of a unit) every few minutes. This is the basal rate of insulin, and it varies from person to person. Most people need increased rates of basal insulin delivery at certain hours and decreased rates at other hours. It is important to work with your healthcare team to set and fine-tune the basal insulin rates. The basal rate keeps the blood sugar level steady between meals and during sleep. When food is eaten, the pump is programmed (at the touch of a button) to deliver a larger quantity of insulin very quickly. This is the bolus of insulin. The bolus is designed to match the amount of carbohydrate in the food. Boluses can also be used to lower high blood sugar levels. With a pump, you get large amounts of insulin when you need it, and small amounts when you don't need as much. With a pump, the basal rate of insulin holds your blood sugar steady between meals, so you can keep whatever schedule you like in terms of meals, activities and sleep. In other words, a near-normal life.

NEXT>>Insulin Pump How-To

Last Modified Date: June 19, 2013

All content on is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.

More on this Topic

No items are associated with this tag

Sign up for FREE dLife Newsletters

dLife Membership is FREE! Get exclusive access, free recipes, newsletters, savings, and much more! FPO

You are subscribed!
You are subscribed!
You are subscribed!
2348 Views 0 comments
by Brenda Bell
Just as years ago, the community of people living with diabetes pushed for the adjective describing us to be changed from "diabetic" to "person with diabetes", we are in the throes of another surge in Political Correctness: calling the action of monitoring our current blood glucose levels "checking" rather than "testing". Frankly, I think this is a Very Bad Idea. The argument behind the change in terms is that "testing" suggests...
  • Watch dLifeTV online now!

    Click here for more info