Whether it's practicing taekwondo or wrestling around with his younger brother, 9-year-old Parker Gregory doesn't let anything slow him down.
While Parker is full of life, he was diagnosed at age 6 with type 1 diabetes. As a nurse, Parker's dad James Gregory knows the disease all too well.
"I see amputations. I see people losing their eyesight, kidney failure, heart disease," Gregory said.
As a father, it was tough to explain.
"I said I'm sorry, and I had to tell him that the needles and all the pricks and all those things that hurt him will have to continue for the rest of his life," Gregory said.
"It's not fun at all," Parker said.
But Parker is a fighter, and thanks to the world's first tubeless insulin pump, Parker gets to act like any other kid his age.
"Oh I feel great, just like a normal person, except I have a pump on," Parker said.
With a traditional pump, tubing carries life-saving insulin to the body. But the OmniPod, which is waterproof, delivers insulin without tubes or shots for up to three days. The pod integrates the pumping mechanism, needle and insulin reservoir into one wearable unit.
"You're not pulling out syringes. You're not freaking people out with medical supplies," said Dr. Deidre McSweeney-Tyson.
And it's all controlled wirelessly through a hand-held device, giving kids like Parker the freedom to be themselves.
The symptoms of type 1 diabetes include weight loss, increased thirst and frequent urination.
BACKGROUND: Type 1 diabetes affects children because their pancreas does not produce insulin. It used to be known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes. Children with diabetes receive injections, learn to count carbohydrates and monitor blood sugar.
CAUSES: Most people with type 1 diabetes have it as result of the body's immune system in which it mistakenly destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.
SYMPTOMS: Extreme hunger, weight loss, fatigue, irratibility or unusual behavior, blurred vision or yeast infection.
TREATMENT: The tubeless insulin pump known as the OmniPod is a new device that was created to hold and deliver insulin as an alternative to injections. It comes with a PDM, a personal diabetes monitor, that wirelessly programs a personalized insulin delivery, calculates suggested doses, and has a built in blood glucose meter.
The OmniPod is waterproof, therefore users are able to swim and bathe with it on. The PDM does not need to be near the OmniPod all the time, only when programming insulin delivery, or to respond to Pod alarms or alerts.
Insulin is filled into the Pod using a fill syringe that comes with the Pod.
ADVANTAGES: The OmniPod is continuous because it eliminates daily injections and reduces highs and lows of insulin levels, therefore decreasing diabetic complications.
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