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New Insulin Pump Has Hugely Helped The SA Family Deal With Type 1 Diabetes



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Thomas Wridgeway with his mother Michelle. Picture: Supplied
Cape Town – Thomas Wridgeway, 11, is like most grade 5 learners. He loves sports, mainly running, cricket and hockey.

He has had type 1 diabetes for the past eight years, a chronic and potentially life-threatening condition. It cannot be cured and requires 24/7 administration.

But the latest Meditronic Insulin pump called the minimum 670g, streamlining the diabetes management and reducing the burden on families trying to cope with the ups and downs of type 1 diabetes.

Diabetes Type 1 can cause the lives of those trying to manage it. Diabetes must inject synthetic insulin or carry an insulin pump that releases insulin into its tissue to survive.

Parents of type 1 diabetics are usually waking up to control their child's sugar levels at 2 am, but with the introduction of continuous glucose monitoring systems (CGM) and insulin pumps, technology is changing the lives of diabetics and their families.

CGM devices measure blood sugar levels Every few minutes, by tiny sensor inserted under the skin, can send the results wirelessly to a pump.

Thomas Wridgeway, 11, with his new insulin pump. He has had type 1 diabetes for over eight years. Picture: Supplied

The minimal 670g developed in America became available to South African earlier this month and Wridgeway was the first child in the country to get one.

His mother, Michelle, says this has changed their lives.

"When the health of your child is in your hands, it creates a lot of stress," she says.

"But for injections of an insulin pump, changing lives for us, because he has control of Thomas. He was needle-phobic and hated injections.

"For me, he was reduced to 670g, the biggest impact was on the night, but with great control overnight, much better than we've had before.

"And we get more sleep, so we are less grumpy!"

In South Africa, the pump is not cheap, but at a price of R56000.

Top options in medical aid schemes usually cover some of these costs, but Michelle says the purchase still receives his financial fee.

"Fortunately, in South Africa, diabetes is a minimum prescribed benefit for medical aid members, so their basic therapy is covered in the state or any basic hospital plan.

"If you want one of these new technologies, you have to pay out your pocket and it can be expensive."

The pump adjusts the amount of insulin automatically. Every day your blood sugar levels are transferred to the pump every five minutes. The pump then reacts by increasing or decreasing the amount of insulin it delivers.

Thomas Wridgeway has a free of his new insulin pump. Picture: Supplied

Dr Danelle van der Merve's pediatric endocrineologist says that type 1 diabetes is becoming more prevalent, mainly in the 2-to-5-year-old age group and when children suffer from puberty, but no statistics are available in South Africa.

“Hopefully, we can get it in the future where we can log the kids to see the increase. We are busy building a record book. They are trying to do this in the city of hospitals, but private patients still need to be involved. ”

Van der Merwe says that parents who can afford the latest technologies usually have better control of their child's diabetes.

"The more finances parents can put in, the better control for the children than they can get monitors. People in lower-income brackets and people who have no medical aids, can't go to sensors and the latest technology. They need to rely on Fingering and older methods.

“I think the 670g minist is fantastic. It is the closest to a closed loop system that we can get and I think we will see vast improvements in type 1 diabetes management, especially in children. "

Dr. Lindsay Levin says it will give children more freedom.

Children, especially when they are in school, and for their mothers, do not know what happens when they are not with their children, care about lows and care about them.

"I think that the care of auto-basal rate adjustments will be a great relief for the whole family and will allow the kids to do the things they want to do, instead of thinking their blood sugar is all the time."

African news agency

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