Insulin pump transforms Graham’s life

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A CRAMLINGTON man whose diabetes spiralled out of control has been given a lifeline thanks to a revolutionary piece of technology.

Graham Thompson has suffered from Type 1 diabetes for more than 20 years and has struggled to stabilise his blood sugar levels.

But now thanks to a small device – the size of a pager – 39-year-old Graham’s life has been transformed.

He no longer needs insulin injections four times a day as the machine controls his levels.

The Paradigm Veo is simply attached to Graham’s belt and delivers insulin doses via a tube into his stomach.

Graham, who lives with his parents, said: “It has changed my life – it’s phenomenal.

“I am no longer restricted in what I can eat, as the machine adjusts the insulin in my food and keeps everything stable.”

Graham said he had told his consultant he hated the diabetes, hated the injections and the restricted diet.

The consultant recommended the insulin pump and referred him to the diabetes team at Newcastle University, led by Professor James Shaw.

Luckily for Graham they approved his case and he secured funding from Newcastle Primary Care Trust.

“Insulin pumps are used for Type 1 diabetes, which is the type of diabetes when your body stops making insulin altogether, and that leads to a need for insulin otherwise you can become very sick and without it you can’t stay alive,” said Professor Shaw.

“Usually it is given via injection and that needs to be given several times a day, but the problem is getting the balance right.”

“If you don’t have diabetes your insulin trickles out very, very steadily and then at meal times you get much, much more and the only way to really do that perfectly, the same way as the body, is to use a pump,” he added.

Professor Shaw feels insulin pumps should be available to all Type 1 diabetes patients as the benefits of having one far outweigh the cost.

Insulin pumps are available on the NHS and funded by individual primary care trusts.

Graham will use his pump for as long as his funding continues, and he still hopes doctors will find a cure for diabetes, so he can be free from the condition.

For more information visit www.diabetes.org.uk