In the early hours of Saturday, February 27th, an 8.8-magnitude earthquake hit Chile, eventually leaving 1.5 million displaced from their homes. At 6 a.m. that same morning, Hawaiians awoke to the news that a tsunami was barreling towards them and evacuation was necessary. Within minutes, many had left their homes for safe ground.
Disasters can strike at a moment’s notice, often with little or no warning. Diabetes patients are much more susceptible to illness in these types of situations. Early preparation is essential. That is why the American College of Endocrinology (ACE) and Eli Lilly and Company have created the “Power of Prevention®: Diabetes Disaster Plan.”
The Power of Prevention: Diabetes Disaster Plan is a checklist of essential items and tips to help diabetes patients prepare for the unexpected. Since Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, ACE and Lilly have worked together to create a comprehensive checklist of items for diabetes patients to prepare in anticipation of disaster.
Hurricane Katrina also prompted Dr. Jordan Pinsker, the Chief of Pediatric Endocrinology at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu and the hospital’s Pediatric Certified Diabetes Educator, Ms. Hope Cooper-Oliver, to educate families at the base. They encourage them to keep extra supplies (not expired) at home and at school in case of disaster. Dr. Pinsker and Ms. Cooper Oliver also recommend having a box of emergency supplies to manage their diabetes for a week.
That preparation paid off on the morning of February 27th, when Dr. Pinsker said alarm sirens started at 6:00 a.m. Dr. Pinsker worked with Ms. Cooper-Oliver to make certain patients were aware of the impending Tsunami.
“We called several families with pumps to make sure they had supplies and food. Some of our families were running low on insertion sites so we made arrangements to share with other families,” Ms. Cooper-Oliver said. “Most of the families know to call me and each other for emergency supplies if it is an unusual occurrence.”
“Fortunately the disaster did not materialize, but it’s always good to be prepared,” Dr. Pinsker said.
Data from the 2007 National Diabetes Fact Sheet indicates that 23.6 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes. The management of this disease requires daily medications which can make these individuals vulnerable when natural disasters strike. These events can upset daily routines and may leave citizens without access to their homes, health care professionals, medications and/or other medical supplies.
“Recent natural disasters and major hurricanes we’ve faced over the last several years have heightened the need for people with chronic medical conditions to prepare for disasters. But this does not only apply to those who live in a hurricane or earthquake zone– floods, tornadoes and severe thunderstorms or winter weather can pose the same kinds of risks,” said Dr. Mark Hartman, senior medical director, Lilly Diabetes. “Lilly is proud to continue supporting ACE’s campaign, now in its fifth year, to raise awareness among people with diabetes of the importance of advance preparation for urgent disruptions in their diabetes management routine. It could mean the difference between life and death in an emergency.”
Times of disaster can interfere with daily routines and result in erratic eating and disrupted timing of medication doses. These disruptions, and the stress induced by a natural disaster, can both change blood sugar levels and potentially adversely affect the health of people with diabetes.
“In the event that disaster hits, you want to have all of these materials located together in an easy-to-remember location,” Dr. Pinsker said. “In the face of disaster, control those elements that are within your grasp.”
To download a copy of the Power of Prevention®: Diabetes Disaster Plan, visit www.powerofprevention.com.
About the American College of Endocrinology (ACE)
The American College of Endocrinology (ACE) is the educational and scientific arm of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE). ACE is the leader in advancing the care and prevention of endocrine and metabolic disorders by: Providing professional education and reliable public health information; Recognizing excellence in education, research and service; Promoting clinical research and Defining the future of Clinical Endocrinology.
About Lilly Diabetes
For more than 85 years, Lilly has been a worldwide leader in pioneering industry-leading solutions to support people living with and treating diabetes. Lilly introduced the world’s first commercial insulin in 1923, and remains at the forefront of medical and delivery device innovation to manage diabetes. Lilly is also committed to providing solutions beyond therapy — practical tools, education and support programs to help overcome barriers to success along the diabetes journey. At Lilly, the journeys of each person living with or treating diabetes inspire ours. For more information, visit www.lillydiabetes.com.
About Eli Lilly and Company
Lilly, a leading innovation-driven corporation, is developing a growing portfolio of first-in-class and best-in-class pharmaceutical products by applying the latest research from its own worldwide laboratories and from collaborations with eminent scientific organizations. Headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind., Lilly provides answers – through medicines and information – for some of the world’s most urgent medical needs. Additional information about Lilly is available at www.lilly.com.
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AACE press release