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Diabetes Channel
Reported July 8, 2002

Easy Diabetic Care for Kids

The insulin pump has been used for years to treat type 1 diabetes in older children and adults. New research on the pump means good news to infants and toddlers and their parents.

Type 1 diabetes caused 4-year-old Camden Greene's blood sugar to swing dramatically. Despite several daily shots of insulin and carefully timed meals, his blood sugar was often too high or too low.

Camden's mother, Amanda, tells Ivanhoe, "We were really concerned about the long-term effects with him being so young of having these highs and lows and nothing in between all the time."

So Duke University Medical Center researchers fitted Camden with an insulin pump. Doctors used to think children under 5 were too young for that.

"The concern was that the children might pull the pump out, the injection site would get disrupted. In fact, it hasn't happened," pediatric endocrinologist Michael Freemark, M.D., of Duke University Medical Center, tells Ivanhoe.

There was also concern that the pump might increase the risk of high blood glucose as well as severe low blood sugar, which can cause seizures, coma and developmental problems.

Dr. Freemark says, "We found, in a sense, the opposite. We were able to control blood sugars more effectively and reduce the frequency of severe hypoglycemia."

Training parents how to use the pump is the key. Camden's mom says it's simple. "Camden can even use it himself now. He's told not to, but he does know how to use it," she says.

Even though he's young, Camden knows how well the insulin pump works. He says, "The insulin pump is the only one who can take, is the only one that can take care of this."

That means now no more strict schedule of shots and meals, fewer dangerous drops in blood sugar, and more time to play.

Researchers say while the number of visits to the doctor or emergency room did not change with the use of the pump, the benefit to parents was drastic. The number of parental contacts with medical professionals dropped from once about every six days to one every 46 days.

If you would like more information, please contact:

Jean Litton
Duke University Medical Center
Box 3080
Durham, NC 27710
(919) 684-6645
litto001@mc.duke.edu

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