86 degrees

June 23rd, 2010 by Amy Gonsalves Leave a reply »

“I really don’t believe in fear. I believe in putting in the work.” -Deena Kastor (distance runner and olympic medalist)

I’ll apologize in advance for this rant but I think it’s important to be aware of how our disease is portrayed in the media, how our friends see our disease and how we ourselves see it. 

The ADA sent out their news last week and what showed up on my RSS was the headline:

Many Patients With Diabetes Not Aware of Dangers of Hot Weather.  To this headline, I have two things to say.

  1. Just because I have diabetes doesn’t mean that everywhere I go am I a “patient”.
  2. What specifically is “dangerous” for me as a diabetic?

The thing that really gets me is that DIABETES is right there with DANGER.  This is more of a media gripe than anything, but really?!  Just say my insulin won’t work if it is cooked, and tell me it cooks at any temperature over 86 degrees Fahrenheit. 

You know, what’s written on every box of insulin and every strip vial.

I don’t see how scaring everyone through the use of the word “DANGER” is useful. 

So off I go to the linked article.  It’s a quick one so I’ll include it here.

One in five diabetes patients would not take precautions for hot weather until the temperature exceeded 100 degrees‚ according to a new survey from the Mayo Clinic in Arizona.

Researchers administered questionnaires to 169 patients with diabetes‚ gauging types of personal protective measures against the heat‚ knowledge of safe temperatures, and sources of weather information. The findings showed that some respondents employed a number of heat–related measures‚ including carrying diabetes equipment and medications in a cooler or limiting heat exposure to one hour. However‚ only 39 percent of respondents knew about the adverse effects of heat on oral diabetes medications‚ while 45 percent said they used sunscreen and 36 percent said they left their diabetes medications or supplies at home when they went out in hot weather.

Endocrine Today (06/19/10)

I’m willing to bet that the American Asthmatic Association or the American Polka Dot Association or the American Green Eggs and Ham Association would come up with remarkably similar numbers for these “personal protective measures” against the heat.  Forty-five percent wearing sunscreen is kind of a lot, until I remember this was an Arizona study, and Arizona is a desert so maybe they’re better trained than the average citizen. 

All I know is, whether I wear sunscreen or not has so incredibly little to do with my having diabetes it to me seems rather odd to be linked like this in a research study.

I leave my diabetes medications or supplies at home most of the time I go out.  Not my pump, of course, but my insulin is in the fridge when I’m not replacing my reservoir.  I have no idea about any oral diabetes medications, either, but that seems appropriate as well since I have type one and don’t take oral diabetes medications.

I take my meter and strips with me in my purse and just don’t leave it in the car.  If I was to forget and the strips ended up exposed to the heat, I’d have to throw out the remaining strips.

These don’t seem to me to qualify as a scary word “DANGER” type of scenario that would justify the additional miscommunications to the public at large about my disease.  Does it to you??

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