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Friday, October 28, 2011

Improved access to insulin pumps for diabetes sufferers in Scotland

By Tim Town

Many people who suffer from type 1 diabetes rely on insulin pumps to get the insulin they need in order to keep them healthy and to help prevent against hypoglycaemic episodes. Insulin pumps are small machines that administer insulin to the subcutaneous tissue, which is the layer of tissue just beneath the skin. However, in some areas these insulin pumps are in short supply.

The more common insulin regimes involve injecting a combination of long-acting insulin along with fast-acting insulin and injections are usually required twice or more every day. The pump is discretely attached to the body and can be worn 24 hours a day and the rate at which the insulin is administered can be pre-set on the pump. The pump will only administer fast-acting insulin but on a regular basis throughout the day and night and it's designed to administer insulin in a way that a fully functioning pancreas would.

There was a recent announcement from the Scottish government that over one quarter of young type 1 diabetes sufferers in Scotland will have access to insulin pumps over the next two years. It was also said that there will be a further 2,000 pumps available to type 1 diabetes sufferers of all ages in the same time frame. This is much welcomed news, as people with the condition will have a better chance of leading a normal, healthy life whilst research continues into the condition with the hope of finding a cure.

Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish Health Secretary commented on how the plans to increase the availability of pumps could drastically improve the lives of many people and it will go a long way to giving the youngest patients a normal childhood. It is expected that the number of pumps available in Scotland will treble of the next two years.

Diabetes is a massive problem in the UK and it is estimated that around 10% of Scotland's hospital expenditure goes towards diabetes treatments and caring for those affected by diabetes. If diabetes is not treated appropriately, long-term health conditions can occur. It is key that children with diabetes receive treatment as early as possible in order to avoid complications later in life.

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