New insulin pump spells more freedom for diabetics

Sitting on the bleachers at Peninsula High School, a lacrosse helmet and stick beside him, Scott Phillips glances at fingers scarred from nearly six years of daily blood sugar tests.

Phillips was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at 12 years old, and the day-to-day ordeal of managing Type 1 diabetes have been at the back of his mind ever since, he said. Now, he’s one of the first recipients of a new type of insulin pump that doctors say could be a huge step forward for diabetics managing disease.

Peace of mind

The pump, developed by medical technology company Medtronic, has been dubbed by some an “artificial pancreas” because of its ability to monitor a patient’s blood sugar and automatically adjust the amount of insulin it administers in response to an increase or decrease in glucose levels.

The system doesn’t function exactly like a normal pancreas — users still have to monitor their blood sugar regularly and give additional insulin before meals. But for people with Type 1 diabetes, whose pancreases have stopped producing insulin that the body uses to process sugar from foods, its an improvement over other available options.

“There’s not ever anything I thought, ‘Oh, I can’t do that because I have diabetes,’ ” Phillips said. “But (the system) definitely makes those things that I want to do that may be more challenging for someone who’s diabetic, it would probably make them a lot easier.”

Phillips has never been one to let his…

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