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12 Stress Free Travel Tips for Diabetics
From meatloaves and Christmas puddings to ice cream cake and shortbread, divine desserts seem to be a hallmark of the festive season. In Asian culture, sweet morsels represent a wish for good things to come. But therein lies the temptation to snack on sugary treats, which can wreck more than your diet.
Diabetes - a condition where the body is unable to regulate blood sugar levels due to insufficient levels of insulin, or because the body cannot use the insulin which is generated. The National Health and Morbidity Survey showed that 11.6% of the population above 18 years old is affected by Type2 diabetes alone; among adults aged 30 years and above, the prevalence is even higher, at 14.9%.
Types of Diabetes
Three main types of diabetes:
- Type 1, which normally affects children, requires insulin injections to survive. There is no means of prevention.
- Type 2 diabetes, also known as adult onset diabetes, comprises 90% of all diabetes cases. It can be prevented through a healthy and active lifestyle and treated with medication If left untreated, it can damage internal organs and result in various health complications.
- Gestational diabetes, whiich occurs only during pregnancy. Usually characterized by high blood glucose levels and can cause complications before and after birth. However, it often never lingers on after pregnancy.
Could You Be At Risk?
Individuals experience different warning signs. In the case of Type 1 diabetes, symptoms can appear suddenly, but in Type 2 diabetes, symptoms may arise gradually and be hard to detect. The only way to be sure is to seek a doctor's advice, who may then advise a blood test to confirm if you have diabetes. These are some of the common signs which you should look out for.
- Frequent urination
- Excessive thirst
- Increased hunger
- Weight loss
- Lack of interest and concentration
- Vomiting and stomach pain (often mistaken as the 'flu'
- A tingling sensation or numbness in the hands or feet
- Blurred vision
- Frequent infections
- Slow-healing wounds.
Stress-Free Travel Tips
- Visit your doctor 4-6 weeks prior to your trip. There are two very important things you need from this visit - a letter (details on your diabetic treatment and allergies if any) and your prescription. Pack twice as much of the medication required. You may also require certain immunisation when visiting certain countries. A visit one month ahead will leave you ample time for a follow up, should the vaccine make you I'll.
- List down the nearest emergency care centres that a re within the vicinity,
- Get a List of English speaking doctors from the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers if you are travelling adhere English is not the main spoken language.
- Find out what the prescription laws are in the country you wish to visit, from the International Diabetes Federation. Some countries use different units of measurements and can vary to a certain degree. In certain cases, you may be required to invest in a syringe to administer the dosage.
- Use a diabetes identification bracelet or necklace.
- Pack an emergency snack supply or glucose tablets in case your sugar levels dip.
- Learn how to say "I have diabetes" and "sugar or orange juice, please" in the language of the country that you are visiting - it will save your life!
- Contact the air line to see if they can accommodate your dietary needs.
- If you are travelling across time zones, be sure to remember that eastward travel means a shorter day, hence less medication and westward travels means a longer day, hence more medication. Best to keep your watch on local time and follow your normal meal plan.
- Take extra caution not to inject air into the insulin bottle should you be doing it on flight, for the pressure in the cabin may work against the plunger.
- Check your blood sugar level upon landing before jet-lag sets in.
- Keep your insulin and syringe in a case to protect it from extreme heat or cold.