For any person with diabetes that does a lot of flying, there could be some problems with proper management. If you travel across several time zones when you travel, it can cause a few problems that you may have not anticipated. The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists has given a few recommendations for any person with diabetes that is traveling or does a lot of traveling to make sure you’re managing your diabetes and making the needed adjustments.
Traveling can be a stressful experience, especially for those that are going to be flying. You’re worried that you forgot to back something. You’re worried that you’re going to miss your flight. You’re worried about making it through security. There are so many things that can go wrong, and it makes it easy to put your diabetes on the back burner. But this is one of the worst things you can do for your diabetes.
While information regarding traveling and diabetes isn’t extensive, some studies suggest around 10% of people with diabetes traveling will experience some type of problem related to their diabetes. Another interesting statistic is that of all medical emergencies that cause planes to be diverted, 2% are because of diabetes. That’s a lot of problems revolving around air travel and diabetes.
Some of the challenges when traveling are obvious. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
Changing Time Zones
When you’re changing time zones, you have to ask yourself an important question. Do you take your medications based on the new time zone or the time zone that you regularly take the medication? This confusion can cause a person with diabetes to have too much medication in their system, or not enough depending on the time it was taken. Before traveling, consult with your doctor to find the best plan for you.
Change in Pressure
One of the other problems that a person with diabetes may face while on an airplane is the change in pressure. For people that use insulin pumps, the tubing can end up with bubbles in it because of the pressure. These bubbles can cause problems when trying to take your dose of insulin because it can’t get through the tubes properly. Check with your insulin pump manufacturer to find out what their exact recommendations are when flying.
The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE), have created several tips for people with diabetes that are going to be flying. For example, when you are landing you should disconnect your pump tubing and prime it with two units of insulin before you reconnect.
One of the most valuable tips AACE offers is to have a supply of your medications with you. You never know what’s going to happen to your luggage, and you should always be prepared for the worst.
Traveling with Diabetes
Traveling is stressful enough without having to think about your diabetes. Don’t let the chaos of traveling cause you to have blood glucose issues. With some careful planning ahead and a few simple tricks, you can have a stress-free flight, and you can enjoy some lightly salted peanuts as your crammed in between those two snoring people on your plane ride.