Life in a war zone brings unimaginable horrors. These only increase if you rely on certain medications and procedures to live but can no longer access the vital services necessary for your survival.
Much of the world has rallied to the aid of Ukraine in the wake of the Russian invasion. Two leading diabetes charities, the InDependent Diabetes Trust and Insulin for Life, have teamed up to provide essential supplies to people with Type 1 diabetes.
What Is Type 1 Diabetes and What Are the Risks?
Type 1 diabetes doesn’t stem from dietary choices. It’s a lifelong autoimmune disorder that inhibits your pancreas from producing insulin. Your body needs this substance to manage blood sugar — without it, too much glucose builds up in your blood. The results can be devastating, sometimes fatal.
Fortunately, you can successfully manage this disease with insulin injections. However, going without your needed medication can lead to severe adverse health outcomes. Unmanaged diabetes can lead to blurred vision, cuts and sores that don’t heal, yeast infections, frequent urination and extreme fatigue.
Diabetes has also been shown to have the potential to negatively impact oral health due to the effect that a person’s blood sugar levels can have on their gums. These changes are not merely cosmetic. Recent research shows an association between oral bacteria and Alzheimer’s disease. Poor gum health makes it more likely that these germs will travel to the brain and promote amyloid plaque formation.
Without insulin, your body begins breaking down fat and muscle, as it cannot use sugar for energy. One of the first symptoms is weight loss from diabetic ketoacidosis, where your blood becomes too acidic, leading to extreme dehydration. This phenomenon can lead to blindness, loss of limbs and eventual death as the body attacks its organs for fuel.
People with Type 1 diabetes require a lot of insulin. They may need to inject themselves up to four or five times per day. It often takes a while to perfect the right dose, and even then, variations occur. For example, a high-sugar meal could cause the individual’s glucose to spike, requiring an extra injection.
The stress of living in a war zone also contributes to problems. Your body produces a surge of adrenaline and cortisol when under pressure, giving you energy for fight-or-flight but inhibiting how your body uses insulin. It doesn’t help if you’re sitting in a basement or bomb shelter, wondering how you will get your lifesaving supplies.
What the IDDT and Insulin for Life Are Doing
Fortunately, two charities devoted to helping people with diabetes stepped up to the plate. So far, these two groups have sent 49 boxes of supplies in response to concerns that vital items are running low.
The supplies include the following items:
- 28,750 lancets
- 26,200 pen needles
- 8,500 matching strips
- 1,355 prefilled pens
- 26 glucose meters
- Nine bottles of hypo treatments
- 765 pen cartridges
- 64 vials
- 21 pens for cartridges
- 25 glucagon
- 109 lancet devices
Many of the drivers delivering these precious supplies spend up to 24 hours on the road. Getting these devices to patients isn’t easy, but the volunteers are dedicated.
The IDDT is based in Northampton, United Kingdom. It provides independent support for people with diabetes, their parents and caregivers.
Insulin for Life is an international charity striving to improve the availability of insulin to the 50% of people in developing nations without access or the means to purchase diabetes supplies. It also provides educational information and lobbies governments to expand health care access.
Those wishing to help can donate to IDDT, 210 Abington Avenue, Northampton, NNI, 4PR. They accept cash donations or new, unused and in-date diabetes supplies.
Delivering Essential Supplies to Ukrainians With Type 1 Diabetes
Living in a war zone is a nightmare. Your worries compound if you rely on life-giving insulin to survive.
Fortunately, the IDDT and Insulin for Life have stepped up to help. They bring hope to desperate patients in the darkest of times.