young woman pumping insulin

Difference Between Close and Open Loop Insulin Pumps

If you or someone you love has diabetes, you may have heard about insulin pumps. Insulin pumps are devices that deliver the hormone insulin through a thin tube and cannula (tiny tube) inserted into your body. Insulin is delivered continuously via a liquid reservoir or can be given at scheduled times. 

The pump is worn outside your body, so it’s much more discreet than traditional needles and pens.

Insulin pumps can help you manage your blood sugar levels more easily when compared to injections or other types of medications. They also provide better control over insulin entering the bloodstream by delivering small amounts throughout the day instead of one large dose at mealtime (which can lead to dangerously low blood sugars).

Open Loop Insulin Pumps

Open loop pumps are the most basic type of pump, and they don’t offer many features to help you with your diabetes. These pumps are easy to use, but they won’t tell you how much insulin to take or how much insulin is in your body at any given time. 

Open loop pumps are also not very accurate because the number of carbohydrates in a food and its effect on blood sugar can vary from person to person. Some people have more carbs than others, so it’s difficult for an open loop pump to know when you’ve eaten something high in carbs or low carb. As a result, these types of pumps may give too little or too much insulin at times.

Closed Loop Insulin Pumps

The closed loop pump is another type of insulin pump. A closed loop system uses a continuous glucose monitor to measure blood sugar levels and then delivers the proper amount of insulin to keep your blood sugar within normal ranges. 

The system can be programmed with your personal information, such as your weight and age, to help it determine the proper amount of insulin needed.

According to the Tandem Diabetes website, “A closed-loop system combines a continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) sensor with an insulin pump to automate the delivery of insulin. This closed-loop system is sometimes referred to as an “artificial pancreas” because it aims to replicate how a pancreas would react to rising or falling blood glucose levels.”

monitoring sugar level app

The more advanced the pump is, the better it can help you manage your blood sugar. A closed-loop insulin pump is much more sophisticated than an open-loop pump and has a lot more features.

This makes them quite expensive, but they have many benefits in return:

  • The ability to adjust basal rates automatically at certain times (such as when you eat).
  • An alarm if too much or too little insulin is being delivered.
  • The ability to be customized with different bolus patterns and settings on a daily basis (if needed).

Both open and closed-loop insulin pumps can be used to manage diabetes. However, many differences between them make each one better suited for certain people. If you have type 1 diabetes, then you will likely benefit from using an open pump (like the Medtronic 630G). 

It doesn’t require any calibration, so you can use it right out of the box without having to set up anything first!

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