Preparation For Natural Disasters Critical For People With Diabetes

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With hurricane season at its peak and continued floods, wildfires, tornadoes and other natural disasters hitting communities across the United States, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) and Eli Lilly and Company are working together to offer tips for people with diabetes to help them manage their condition even if disaster strikes.

People with chronic medical conditions that require daily medications are among the most vulnerable victims of natural disasters, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, blizzards, earthquakes and flooding. These events upset individuals' daily routines and may leave them without access to their homes, health care professionals, medications and/or other medical supplies.

"Hurricane Katrina taught diabetes patients and their health care professionals the importance of being prepared," said Lawrence Blonde MD, FACP, FACE of the Ochsner Clinic Foundation in New Orleans. "Taking the time to prepare a disaster kit in advance is crucial because once a storm or other disaster threatens, there is usually too little time to make all of the necessary arrangements."

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Diabetes affects an estimated 246 million people worldwide(1) and more than 20 million in the United States(2). People using insulin, a hormone that the body needs for the correct use of food and energy, are especially affected by a disruption to their daily routine. People using insulin need to take their medicine every day, often multiple times, to keep blood sugar levels in balance. Meals and therapy routines are often carefully planned.

The chaos of a disaster or catastrophic event can interfere with these routines and result in erratic eating and disrupted timing of medication doses. These disruptions and the stress induced by such an event can both change blood sugar levels and potentially adversely affect the health of people with diabetes.

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AACE and Lilly have created several tips to help individuals prepare for disaster. These helpful suggestions can be applied no matter where you live, whether in a hurricane region, tornado alley, earthquake zone or elsewhere, and can be applied broadly to many medical conditions.

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