Prepping for Type 1 Diabetes

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  • #2407
    PathAcross
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    If you or someone you know has type 1 diabetes, you’re in a tiny minority.

    From a survival standpoint, type 1 diabetics are in a pretty crappy situation. Anywhere from a few hours to a few days without insulin will send a diabetic into a condition called ketoacidosis. Untreated this can lead to a coma and death.

    Type 1 diabetes differs from the much more common type 2 diabetes in that the pancreas of a type 1 diabetic does not produce any insulin at all. Type 2 diabetics either produce less insulin or have trouble metabolizing the insulin that is produced. It is more complex than that, yes. Essentially what this means is that type 1 diabetics rely on insulin injections to stay alive, while type 2 can be controlled with pills, diet, exercise, and/or insulin, and/or a combination of these things.

    As a type 1 this is something that I worry about a lot. It’s very important to stay WAY ahead of the game. And you don’t even need to be into prepping to make sure that you have enough supplies to last for awhile, for any reason. Complicating matters is that some types of insulin are only available by prescription, it’s perishable, and fairly expensive.

    So I’ve come up with a few ways to be prepared that might be useful to you or someone you know. Different people may have different methods, but this way covers all the bases. Feel free to add anything.

    #1: Know yourself. Control diabetes through frequent bloodsugar monitoring and insulin use. Although this stuff is prescribed by doctors and the doctor tells you what to do, ideally you should get to a point where you can make adjustments yourself. I’m not a doctor. And if a doctor heard me saying this they might try to kill me. But I take care of myself this way and it offers me the most self reliance on a day to day basis as possible. If you’re on this site you probably don’t want to be tied down by doctors either.

    #2: Stock up on non-perishable supplies. These include: testing strips for glucose monitors; syringes; alcohol swabs; lancets. In some states you need a prescription for syringes. Here’s a link that tells you which: http://www.isletsofhope.com/diabetes/state-law/state-prescription-laws.html” onclick=”window.open(this.href);return false; Most of the time insurance covers this stuff, but in a pinch they are also available over the counter. You just have to ask the pharmacy.

    In some cases it might be cheaper to buy this stuff OTC than to pay the doctor to ask for prescriptions.

    For strips and monitors, I highly recommend the wal-mart brand one. They are way less expensive than the “name brands” and work just as well. Don’t believe your doctor when they tell you that the most expensive brand works the best. It’s B.S.

    #3: Keep a backup supply of insulin. You can ask the doctor for a prescription, but in most states this is not necessary (see the above link). Make a note of the expiration date. Here is a guide to how long insulin lasts, refrigerated and unopened: http://www.isletsofhope.com/diabetes/care/tips_insulin_chart_1.html#bottle” onclick=”window.open(this.href);return false;

    In a pinch, I recommend R and N insulins as backup. They’re “older” types and are often cheaper than Humalog, Lantus, etc. Also R and N are often available without a prescription, while “newer” types of insulin do require prescriptions.

    It’s expensive but you gotta do what you gotta do.

    #4: Also keep a glucagon kit and teach someone else how to use it. Glucagon is an injection given to diabetics who have gone unconscious from having a LOW bloodsugar. G-d forbid you ever have to use it because I hear it’s horrible. But always keep some sugar – glucose tablets and hard candy are good for longer term preparation. Staying true to tip #1 should help you avoid a situation in which glucagon is necessary. I’ve lived 24 years with type 1 and never had to use glucagon, but anything is possible, especially if you’re in a situation where you have to adjust to R and N insulin, may not have reliable food, may have to walk or run for awhile, etc. Be prepared and know the signs of low bloodsugar.

    I have other survival tips for type 1s that I’ve learned as a result of a lifetime of living with diabetes. But keeping a backup supply of all of these things is the #1 thing that you must do – before food, before water. Because without it, you’re dead meat!

    Thanks for reading.
    Lauren from PathAcross

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