Type 1 diabetics treated at King’s College Hospital are the first in the UK to use a new wireless insulin pump.
The tubeless device provides up to three days of insulin without daily injections. It is attached to the wearers’ body and has an easy-to-use touchscreen handset described as being like a smartphone.
One of the first to try the insulin pump upgrade is 37-year-old finance worker Ben Smith, an ultra-marathon runner from Streatham, who will be running the London Marathon later this year.
“I’ve been using a wireless insulin pump for seven years and it has had a huge impact on my quality of life,” he said.
“I can just get on with my daily routine. The upgraded system is just like a mobile phone so programming my meals is more intuitive and user-friendly than before.
“The data collected will help the team at King’s to monitor my condition and allow me to continue managing my diabetes.”
The diabetes service at King’s is second to none. It’s progressive and has offered me innovative solutions to manage my condition and lead an active, healthy lifestyle.”
King’s runs the largest insulin pump service in the UK.
Patients with Type 1 diabetes can’t produce insulin, a hormone which controls blood glucose.
It is not caused by diet or lifestyle factors – like Type 2 diabetes – but instead is an incurable auto-immune condition.
Insulin pumps help control the condition by delivering tiny amounts of insulin into the bloodstream throughout the day and night to reduce the risk of “hypos”.
Pumps can dramatically improve patients’ quality of life as they have flexibility with what they eat and drink.
But currently pumps cost around £2,000 and last between four and eight years, and are not available to everyone on the NHS.