Traveling With Diabetes

Travel is a real challenge with all the security requirements these days. But for someone with diabetes, it can be especially daunting.

In this week's Dealing With Diabetes report, the Eye on Health team talked to a frequent flyer and a diabetes specialist.

Las Vegas resident Theresa Moore and husband Chris are planning a trip to Australia. Moore loves to travel and has been to many parts of the world. She's also an insulin-dependent diabetic, a circumstance that has not dampened her spirit of adventure.

"'Cause diabetes is not going to control me, I'll control the diabetes," Theresa said.

Managing diabetes on the road can be problematic without some advanced planning. Joyce Malaskovitz with the Diabetes Treatment Center at Desert Springs Hospital says they often hear concerns from travelers to Las Vegas who didn't come prepared.

"And then we get the phone calls: 'I forgot my insulin pin. I didn't bring my supplies. Where can I get a prescription filled?' So, preparing for your travel plans is very important," Malaskovitz explained.

Moore takes along spare medical supplies including extra test strips, two glucose monitors, extra batteries, prescriptions, and she wears a medical ID bracelet.

With all this you might think it would be obvious to airport personnel that she's a diabetic. But a travel nightmare in Paris proved otherwise.

Theresa Moore continued, "And then they called the police in. And I got searched. They took my insulin pump out to see where it was connected. They took it apart, wanted to know what it was doing. I tried to explain -- diabetes, diabetes. They didn't understand. So finally I showed the syringe. And finally I figured it was a doctor's note, they wanted the doctor's prescription. I showed them that and then everything was fine. So yeah, there was a language barrier and it was quite hard."

A vacation can also mean a sudden shift in diet. When Moore travels, she takes along a variety of snacks including crackers, candy and glucose tablets. She drinks plenty of water and keeps closer-than-normal tabs on her blood sugar levels.

The American Diabetes Association has extensive travel advice for diabetics, including current information on getting through the airport.

Send e-mail to: Anchor Paula Francis or Medical Producer Rick Andrews.


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