UK diabetics to be first in the world to try out new insulin pump
UK DIABETICS will be the first to use a new insulin pump mimicking the human pancreas.
It automatically stops the flow of insulin to the body if blood sugar levels fall too low.
It is designed to help prevent hypoglycaemic attacks – "hypos" – which can leave diabetics in a coma and prove fatal.
Some 5,000 people in the UK currently use insulin pumps, although NHS doctors follow strict criteria on who is eligible.
Manufacturer Medtronic said diabetics in the UK and Ireland will be the first in the world to use a new technology, which combines an insulin pump with continuous blood sugar monitoring (or glucose monitoring).
Patients take glucose readings from the device's monitor, supplemented with occasional pin prick blood tests, to work out their blood sugar levels.
They then programme the pump to deliver the right amount of insulin and input a "threshold" below which their blood sugar levels must not fall.
If their blood glucose level does drop below this marker, the pump automatically suspends insulin delivery for up to two hours, helping prevent a hypo.
The pump is only suitable for people with Type 1 diabetes, which affects around 300,000 people in the UK. Type 1 usually develops in childhood and differs to Type 2, which is linked to unhealthy lifestyles.
The Paradigm Veo pump costs about 2,850, around 100 more than current devices.
Peter Hammond, a consultant diabetologist at Harrogate District Hospital, said: "This latest technology is a significant breakthrough which will help people with diabetes to control their condition.
"In order to reduce the long-term risk of diabetes-related complications, which can cause blindness, kidney failure and heart attacks, patients have to try and aggressively lower their blood glucose levels to get them as near normal as possible."
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