Everything you need to know about the Omnipod – Type One Style
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Everything you need to know about the Omnipod

Published: 20 Sep 2022, Author: Charlie Cawsey

What is the Omnipod?

The Omnipod is a new diabetes management system that helps users effortlessly automate the process of insulin injection and diabetes management from start to finish.

The Omnipod system contains two main parts – the insulin pump mechanism and the Personal Diabetes Manager (PDM). The pod is a compact, tubeless system that attaches directly to the body with an adhesive patch. It incrementally supplies insulin to the wearer throughout the day.

The PDM will process blood glucose readings and relay them to the insulin pump system. It will then tailor the amount of insulin it administers to the blood glucose readings it received. This makes insulin delivery much easier and each Omnipod gives users up to 3 days of wear time.

How does the Omnipod work?

The Omnipod uses an internal mechanism known as a Shape Memory Alloy (SMA). When the system detects a dip in blood glucose, it gets to work. It tells the special SMA mechanism to activate a tiny lever which then initiates insulin delivery, accurate to just 0.05 units.

The SMA wire mechanism is also operated and assisted by micro-sized heating units. When these heat up, the wire expands – and when it cools, contracts – further engaging the mechanism to activate insulin delivery. Who knew you could fit so much technology into such a small insulin pump?

How to use the Omnipod

Once set up, the Omnipod offers round-the-clock management of your blood glucose levels with minimal intervention.

As an alternative to multiple daily injections, finger stick tests, or a conventional insulin pump with tubing, pod therapy simply requires a wearable pod that automatically delivers insulin. However, to get the most out of your Omnipod, there are a few things to remember.

Choosing the best site to apply an Omnipod

Because there are minimal interfering components – like thick tubing, for example – you can wear the Omnipod in any area that you would typically inject yourself with conventional insulin needles. Although, it's vital to consider a few details:

  • Make sure the Omnipod positioning is comfortable – The last thing you want is for the Omnipod to be in a position where it will be uncomfortable or dislodge when you sit or move around. For effective results, don't place it on or near folds of skin or around joints or tighter areas of clothing, like a waistband.
  • Changing sites regularly – If you don't change the position of your Omnipod, the site never gets a chance to fully heal. This can reduce insulin absorption, putting you at risk of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).

Areas to avoid – Any new pod site needs to be at least one inch away from the last one, around two inches away from the navel (belly button), and it should never be inserted next to or on a mole or scar.

Site preparation for the Omnipod

Any prospective application site must be prepared before applying the Omnipod insulin pump.

To prepare an application site, be sure to:

  • Keep the skin cool and totally dry for a pod change. Sweat will reduce the adhesion of the patch and your Omnipod could fall off early.
  • Make sure to keep your Omnipod patch dry for as long as you can, to allow the adhesive to settle and mature to maximum strength.
  • Make sure you're clean and your skin is sanitized thoroughly. Everything from the body's natural oils to cosmetics, lotions and sunscreen can impact how securely an Omnipod sticks to your body. To improve adhesion, clean the area with an alcoholic swab, let it air dry and then apply the Omnipod. This kills any nasty bacteria while providing a clean and dry region for the pod to sit over the next three days.

How to best position an Omnipod

When you've found your ideal application site, getting the positioning of the Omnipod device right will be critical to optimizing your insulin delivery.

Typically, the best locations are those with higher fat reserves and far away from moving joints. This means the abdomen, thigh, arm, back, buttock and upper leg. For kids, the Omnipod should ideally only be placed on the abdomen, thigh, arm, or buttock areas.

If you’re placing the Omnipod system on your arm or leg, make sure it’s angled vertically for the best insulin delivery.

If you're going for the back, abdomen, or buttocks area, ensure you angle it as horizontally as possible, although it can be at a slight angle without affecting delivery.

5 Huge Benefits of using an Omnipod

The Omnipod makes life with diabetes easier. It provides users with many benefits and is hassle-free alternative to conventional pin-prick testing and multiple daily injections (MDI).

Some of the benefits that make the Omnipod attractive for those currently on MDI are:

  1. No needles – The Omnipod system greatly reduces the need for multiple daily injections, letting you live a fuller life with simplified diabetes management.
  2. Tubeless – Because there are no awkward tubes or components jutting out, the Omnipod is one of the most comfortable insulin pumps. Plus, its compact shape keeps it discreet and hidden under almost any clothing.
  3. Easy to set up and use – Once put into place, you’ll have automated insulin delivery for the next 72 hours. This lets you focus on your day, knowing the Omnipod system is looking after your insulin delivery for you.
  4. Durable and waterproof – Not only is the system free from any complicated wiring, but it's also waterproof. Being small and durable enough to take almost anywhere, it's a diabetes management solution that will keep up with your lifestyle.
  5. Extremely convenient – Everything from the insulin administering mechanism to the blood glucose tracking system is locked up in a small, discreet pod.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why is my Omnipod not working?

Suspiciously high readings of BG (blood glucose) might indicate a problem with your Omnipod.

Common causes for Omnipods not correctly delivering insulin are blockages along the cannula (pipe and entry point of insulin) or a leak in the airtight pump system.

Check for any noticeable causes of blockages along the cannula or in the pump. For example, notches in the inner piping or debris preventing insulin from leaving the cannula.

You can find more information on the Omnipod website here.

How long does an Omnipod last?

The Omnipod works around the clock – measuring and maintaining insulin levels for up to 72 hours before the pod needing refilling.

However, this can change depending on your need for insulin and recommendations from healthcare provider.

How can I help the Omnipod stick in place?

The Omnipod’s natural adhesive patch should stick in place for the duration of the three days. However, different activity levels and skin types can make it tricky to keep it secure throughout that duration.

For additional support, a liquid adhesive or adhesive spray can provide extra strength. Alternatively, Type One Style boasts an array of adhesive tapes & patches in different styles to protect your Omnipod.

How accurate is the Omnipod?

The Omnipod is very accurate – working with an extremely slim margin of error.

Core testing results during two experiments proved the accuracy of the Omnipod with a window of error operating in a range of 0.9% to 0.96% for all doses ­– those being 0.05, 0.1, 0.2, 1, and 6 units.

Can I get an Omnipod free on the NHS?

Yes, it's possible to receive an Omnipod free on the NHS – provided your doctor and a specialist diabetes team agree that you are eligible and have met the NICE criteria.

The criteria usually involve demonstrating a commitment to responsible diabetes control, which includes:

  • Making sure you adhere to multiple daily injections (this being around four or more a day, sometimes as much as 8+ depending on your CCG’s requirements)
  • Testing your blood glucose levels and actioning on the results (at least four times daily)
  • Actively tracking carbohydrates and adjusting mealtime insulin doses accordingly
  • Adjusting insulin intake to account for exercise, additional stress and/or illness
  • Keeping a log of your insulin usage, food intake and diabetes symptoms

Type One Style is committed to making diabetes easier & provides a range of protective adhesive patches for the Omnipod. Choose from over 220+ designs and guarantee you never lose a pod before the 3-days.

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