This article focuses on what role electronics plays in the design of an insulin pump. It describes the purpose of an insulin pump, its overall workings, and the requirements needed for its design and its implementation.
Purpose of an insulin pump
Insulin is a hormone central to regulating carbohydrate and fat metabolism in the body. It is secreted regularly within the body and aids in converting incoming glucose into energy. When a normal human being’s body cannot secrete enough insulin, his/her blood glucose level rises, resulting in many adverse medical conditions.
To treat this problem, certain medicines are used to trigger more insulin secretion within the body. However, this doesn’t suit many diabetic patients. Therefore, many of those suffering from diabetes take regular doses of insulin injections. The disadvantage of this approach is that the insulin is injected only in bulk at repetitive intervals and is not continuously mixed with blood as it when secreted during a body’s normal functioning. Today, many physicians recommend the use of insulin pumps, which are portable devices attached to the body permanently and deliver constant amounts of insulin to the body via a catheter placed under the skin. The functioning of an insulin pump closely resembles the way in which insulin is secreted normally.
Figure 1 shows how an insulin pump is interfaced with a human body.
Figure 1: Interfacing Insulin pump with the human body
As per today’s statistics, 366 million people around the world suffer from diabetes, yet only around 0.1 percent of them wear insulin pumps to treat it.