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Lessons From Hurricane Sandy: American College Of Endocrinology (ACE) Urges Those With Diabetes To Plan Ahead

With the first anniversary of Hurricane Sandy approaching, memories of the devastation wrought by the massive coastal storm serve as a reminder that preparation can be key, particularly when it comes to chronic medical conditions such as diabetes.

For those with diabetes, lack of access to medicines and routine diabetes care during an emergency, such as what occurred in the New York metropolitan area last October, leaves them vulnerable and may be the difference between life and death. That’s why the American College of Endocrinology (ACE) and Lilly Diabetes are urging people with diabetes and their caregivers to be ready prior to these situations using the “My Diabetes Emergency Plan.”

The plan, created by ACE and Lilly Diabetes in 2005 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, contains an index of 17 essential items that people with diabetes should have readily available to help ensure their safety and well-being in the event of severe storms and other emergencies. The plan also has a supporting video.

Disruptions such as lack of drinkable water for maintaining hydration, electricity to keep insulin chilled and viable, lack of proper foods to help keep blood sugars stable, and limited access to medical supplies and healthcare providers may put those with diabetes at risk of serious complications.

“Even though diabetes is a manageable disease, the reality is that without proper medication and supplies for even a short period of time, people with diabetes are at risk for complications that can become very dangerous very quickly,” said Dr. Lawrence Blonde, endocrinologist, member of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) and fellow of ACE.

A downloadable copy of the plan in both English and Spanish, along with a step-by-step instructional video, is available at ACE’s patient education website, www.empoweryourhealth.org, under the Resources tab. ACE also offers the plan in a water-resistant, credit-card-sized format. Emergency preparedness personnel, first responder organizations and health care personnel can order the plan in bulk online at www.empoweryourhealth.org/product-inquiry.

“Taking a few minutes now to assemble an emergency kit, as outlined in the plan, may make a world of difference in staying healthy under stressful circumstances,” said Dr. Jeffrey Jackson, endocrinologist and senior medical adviser, Lilly Diabetes. “Once an event threatens, there’s usually too little time to prepare properly to avoid disruptions in care. That’s why preparation for those with diabetes is essential and crucial.”

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