SurvivalBlog Resources: The Diabetic Prepper’s Dilemma

Introductory Note: The following is another in a series of articles by JWR that will link to some of the thousands of archived SurvivalBlog articles, grouped topically.

Today we address the issue of diabetes, with an emphasis on the particular requirements of preppers.

Because 21st Century Americans are collectively both over-fed and incorrectly fed on sugary “junk food”, diabetes now affects more of our citizens than ever before. According the American Diabetes Association, 29.1 million Americans (9.3% of the population) had diabetes, as of 2012. Of those, about 1.25 million Americans (both children and adults) have the dreaded Type 1 diabetes (the type that cannot be treated by just diet and exercise alone). Without supplemental insulin, most of Type 1 sufferers would perish. Alarmingly, 86 million Americans age 20 and older are classified as being in prediabetes. It is estimated that there are around 8 million Americans who have undiagnosed diabetes. It is wise for every adult to take a look at a list of the symptoms and watch for them. And, of course, improve your family’s diet!

According to Infogalactic, “Untreated, diabetes can cause many complications. Complications of relatively rapid onset include diabetic ketoacidosis and nonketotic hyperosmolar coma. Long-term complications include heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, foot ulcers and damage to the eyes.”

Diabetes mellitus is of particularly great concern to preppers because we are forward-looking individuals who foresee disaster situations where the national pharmacy supply chain is interrupted and the power grids go down. (And of course most forms of insulin require constant refrigeration.)

There are a few alternatives to refrigerated liquid injectable insulin. Exubera, one of the forms of dry inhalable insulin (not requiring refrigeration), was withdrawn from the market by its maker in 2007. A new brand, called Alfrezza, from a different maker was approved by the FDA in 2014. The per-dose cost of Alfrezza is substantially higher than injectable insulin. Some health insurance companies refuse to reimburse patients who select inhalable insulin. This has led to poor sales and lack of competition among pharmaceutical makers. (Most of them consider dry insulin an unprofitable “dead end”.) Presently, the makers of Alfrezza have a near monopoly on the inhalable dry insulin market in the Unites States. To become price competitive with refrigerated insulin, the price of Alfrezza must drop. But with no viable competition to encourage a price drop and with some insurers unwilling to pay for it, the long-term prospects don’t look good.

Delving into SurvivalBlog’s deep archives– which have more that 27,400 articles, columns and letters, all freely accessible– you will find many articles related to diabetes. The following is just a sampling, with an emphasis on home-powered refrigeration and non-traditional alternatives to modern electrically-powered refrigeration:

Closing Note: You can use our recently improved Search box at the top of the blog’s right hand column to find even more articles. (The ones that I’ve linked to are just a sampling.) The new Search tool is much more useful than the old one. When searching, use quote marks around terms that need to appear together, for example “photovoltaic panel”. You can also use “AND” in search phrases to combine multiple search terms, such as “diabetic and coma”. – JWR