Preparing For Disaster. Diabetic Preparedness Key To Survival This Season

When Hurricane Katrina struck last August, people with diabetes faced particular challenges, especially those using insulin. More than 20 million people in America have diabetes, and many others suffer with other chronic health conditions.

During this year’s hurricane and tornado season, Eli Lilly and Company, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of insulin, suggests that individuals with diabetes or any other chronic illness should follow the guidelines below, no matter where you live:

• Medicine and supplies should be stored in a defined location to be easily gathered if you must quickly evacuate home or work.

• Keep cool packs in your freezer to keep medicine cool.

• Compile an easy-to-reach kit including:

• Medical supplies: syringes, cotton balls, tissues, swabs, blood glucose testing strips, blood glucose meter, lancing device and lancets, urine ketone testing strips, items for your therapy and blood sugar monitoring

• An empty hard plastic bottle to dispose of syringes and lancets

• Cooler for insulin

• Pen and notebook

• Glasses

• Copies of prescriptions, insurance cards, medical information and contact list, including caregiver’s and physicians’ names and phone numbers

• Physician’s orders for your child’s care on file at school and in your disaster kit

• Glucagon emergency kit and fast-acting carbohydrate (glucose tablets, orange juice)

• Nonperishable food such as granola bars and water

• First-aid kit, flashlight, whistle, matches, candles, radio with batteries, work gloves

• Supplies for at least a week

• Something containing sugar in case you develop low blood sugar.

“No one can fully anticipate a natural disaster, but with preparation, people with diabetes can manage their disease,” said Dr. Sherry Martin, medical advisor, Eli Lilly and Company. “Taking the time to prepare could make a huge difference in an emergency.”

If disaster strikes, remember to:

• Maintain meal plan, keep hydrated.

• Monitor blood sugar and record numbers.

• Wear shoes and examine feet often. If a foot wound develops, seek medical attention immediately.

• If relocated, call your doctors as soon as possible to maintain the continuity of your medical care.

• Parents of children with diabetes should identify which school staff members will assist children in an emergency.

• If you are displaced, identify yourself immediately as a person with diabetes so authorities can provide medical care.

Sopranos Star Takes Control Of Diabetes

Aida Turturro, the actress who plays Janice Soprano on the HBO series “The Sopranos,” is one of the more than 20 million Americans who have diabetes.

Turturro was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes (where the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells do not use the insulin properly) in 2000. For more than a year after her initial diagnosis she was in denial and did not take the proper steps-such as diet and exercise-to manage the disease.

Finally, her doctor told her that her blood sugar levels were too high and if she did not learn how to manage the disease, she would suffer serious complications.

“As soon as I started learning more about the potential complications of the disease, I realized I should have taken action sooner,” said Turturro. “It is scary what can happen to you if you do not take control of your diabetes.”

Turturro was among the more than 50 percent of diabetes patients whose A1C levels are above the target goal of 7 percent as established by the American Diabetes Association. Patients with diabetes should know their A1C level. It is a simple blood test that assesses glucose levels over a two- to three-month period.

In addition to her diet and exercise routines, Turturro worked with her doctor to develop a treatment regimen that was right for her. At first she was taking oral medications but was still unable to get her blood sugar levels under control. About two years ago, Turturro and her doctor added Lantus® (insulin glargine [rDNA origin] injection), the once-daily, true 24-hour basal insulin, to her treatment plan.

With a treatment regimen that includes Lantus and other diabetes medications, Turturro achieves good blood glucose control with an A1C level below seven percent.

“Managing diabetes is not easy. What I have learned is the best way to manage the disease is by becoming educated, motivated and an advocate for yourself,” said Turturro. “It is a 24-hour disease and you have to put in a real effort to keep your blood sugar levels under control.”

Note to Editors: Important Safety Information for Lantus

Lantus is indicated for once-daily subcutaneous administration, at the same time each day, for the treatment of adult and pediatric patients (6 years and older) with type 1 diabetes mellitus or adult patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus who require basal (long-acting) insulin for the control of hyperglycemia. Lantus must not be diluted or mixed with any other insulin or solution. If mixed or diluted, the solution may become cloudy, and the onset of action/time to peak effect may be altered in an unpredictable manner. Lantus is contraindicated in patients hypersensitive to insulin glargine or the excipients. Hypoglycemia is the most common adverse effect of insulin, including Lantus. As with all insulins, the timing of hypoglycemia may differ among various insulin formulations. Glucose monitoring is recommended for all patients with diabetes. Any change of insulin type and/or regimen should be made cautiously and only under medical supervision.Concomitant oral antidiabetes treatment may need to be adjusted. Other adverse events commonly associated with Lantus include the following: lipodystrophy, skin reactions (such as injection-site reaction, pruritus, rash) and allergic reactions.