Sugar Matters
January 14, 2014
When trouble strikes

The recent past has seen horrible weather and disasters affect the region, amidst the most heart wrenching stories about lives and homes lost and many more about people struggling to keep themselves safe and healthy. One of the first problems that pop up is for those people taking medications, especially medications that need to be put into the fridge. So here are a few pointers to keep in mind if indeed you are a person with diabetes, and you find yourself affected by these circumstances:{{more}}

Problem1: the fridge stops working and you have your insulin in the fridge. The issue here is that older types of insulin like 70/30 need to be refrigerated to remain “good.” When they become overly warm, the medication essentially spoils and will not work.

Solution: if the insulin has not come to room temperature or warmer yet, it is likely still good. You can transfer it to an icebox, wrapped in plastic bags, and put it next to some ice. The insulin should not be allowed to freeze though, as this also makes it go bad; it just needs to stay cool.

If the insulin DID get too warm, then you need to get to a clinic or pharmacy to get a new supply. If you have Type 1 diabetes, this is CRITICAL because you need insulin to survive. Using insulin that has gone bad will put you in extreme danger and literally can cost you your life, as your sugars will start to rise and you will become very, very sick.

Problem 2: you don’t have a steady supply of food, no regular meals, because food is scarce. The problem is that if you have diabetes, your sugars will rise even if you don’t eat, as this is the nature of the disease. However, what medications and the dose you need to take if you are eating less will depend on if you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, what type of medication you were taking, and what food you do have available.

Solution: Get in touch with a medical professional as soon as possible for guidance. You likely cannot keep taking the SAME medicine; neither can you safely stop entirely in many cases, so you will need guidance as to how to change the doses.

Problem 3: you are staying in a shelter or ran out of your house and all your medication is gone. The problem is that again many of you will need SOMETHING. Don’t assume you can safely go without your diabetes medications until you manage to get them again. For some people maybe, but for many it is not the case. It is NEVER the case if you have Type 1 diabetes – you will at least need a small amount of insulin.

Solution: again, get in touch with a medical professional as soon as you can to get even a few days’ worth of medicine. DO NOT just assume you will be fine.

Stay strong, Vincies. Stay safe and healthy.

Anita Ramsetty, MD [email protected]

Medical Director Endocrine Care Group

Tel: 843-798-4227