YOUR HEALTH: A new “mini pump” for active diabetics

MIAMI, Florida – Like most teenagers, Colton Smith is extremely active.

"I play outside linebacker."

So it was quite a shock when Colton was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes at the age of 14.

"It was kind of out of the blue."

Dr. Miladys Palau says the diagnosis changes families forever.

"When you have Type One Diabetes you actually have to think like you're a pancreas," said Dr. Palau, Pediatric Endocrinologist at Nicklaus Children's Hospital

The challenge is regulating blood sugar levels.   Colton was getting up to eight shots of insulin a day.

His mom was concerned about him playing football.

"My worry was OK he's going to lay flat on the field and he's going to be out, you know," explained Jean Smith.

Dr. Palau says exercise can have an effect on blood sugar levels up to 12 hours later.

A new pump for people with "Type One" Diabetes has just been FDA approved for use in kids starting at age seven.

The Medtronic 670G system has a glucose sensor that measures blood sugars every five minutes.

"The pump has a computer algorithm that can calculate the rate of rises and drops in blood sugar and deliver the insulin," said Dr. Palau.

So Colton can set it and forget it when he hits the field.

"I just disconnect it from me and give it to my trainer to hold onto during the game," he explained.  "Then when it's over I just reconnect and I'm good to go."

And because the system is able to adjust the amount of insulin the patient is getting, there's no more worries overnight.

"It will send an alert to the parents and let them know that the blood sugar is low and they need to come fix the problem," said Dr. Palau.

NEW TECHNOLOGY:   The new closed loop hybrid insulin pump system, the MiniMed 670G, was designed for continuous delivery of insulin for the management of Type 1 Diabetes.   The system monitors and trends the levels of glucose under the skin and can be programmed to automatically adjust delivery based on the sensor's glucose values.   Patients under the age of 14 who have been using the system have reported it working very well and it is giving parents peace of mind throughout the night.  This system responds if there is a risk of low blood sugar numbers. (Sources: https://www.medtronicdiabetes.com/blog/important-new-fda-approval-pediatric-patients-type-1-diabetes)

Colton says the pump has been a game changer.

"I don't find myself worrying about it and I get to enjoy life a lot better."

Helping to make this disease more manageable for families.

If this story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Jim Mertens at jim.mertens@wqad.com or Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at mthomas@ivanhoe.com.