Emergency Preparedness for Diabetics

That could've been taken directly out of my Organic Chem lab book! It sounds like everything we did in those two semesters.

Making synthetic insulin would be much, much harder than extracting insulin.

The bacteria they use do live in our intestines...and on our skin and almost everything we touch. It would be impossible to extract it from feces because there are too many contaminants and other bacteria there.

You'd then need the genetic sequence of insulin--which would really be impossible to extract without proper equipment, if you could even figure out how to do it (it's pretty hard). And then you'd need to get it into the bacterium, in just the right place, to get it to make insulin. That requires more specialized equipment and supplies.

I pretty much learned how to do it in Bio lab, but I wouldn't trust myself to do it, even with all the equipment and supplies. If necessary...

James P; shouldn't you be more concerned about getting your a1c down instead of emergency preparedness. I agree we all should be prepared for short term emergencies. Having an a1c of 11 is more of an emergency because of the long term affects it can have.

That's great you did that! .. yeah I pretty much thought it would be too complicated for any of us to do... it would be good if some of us had the capacity to do it though. I guess have a big stash is the way to go and then extraction if necessary, seems like even that is going to be difficult.

The sequence for human insulin is published. I deal with that kind of data every day. I also deal with researchers and techs that work with ecoli expression systems. It takes a lot of gear, a lot of experience and what is sometimes called, "lab hands", like a green thumb in gardening, to get even trace amounts of product.

Basically, you need a few dozen trained and willing people and a few hundred thousand dollars of gear to even get a start on "survivalist insulin". You're talking about setting up an industrial scale operation.

We all like to think of ourselves as ready for anything, but when you crossed the line into insulin dependence, you gave up any chance you had of being Brad Pitt in World war Z. We will most likely survive about a month after the last refrigerator. Thats most of a lifetime longer than we would have survived a century ago. Keep a few months supply in case of a local emergency, donate your apocalypse preperation money towards finding a cure, and live well in the time you have.

I haven't seen that film and have no desire to be brad pitt..lol I am living well, but I do want to be prepared for an emergency and I think it is something we all need to consider.. just a regular "emergency" can be more difficult for us or on anyone with medication requirements like this... I have lived for several days to two weeks without power a few times over the years, more recently after Sandy, and our power is constantly going out... a generator, as much insulin as you can afford to stock up and a solar fridge is a good idea... they're used in Africa, South America and other areas to store meds and such. Of course you need enough sun for that but the company I contacted said we should have enough. They have small and regular sized fridges so if I lived in CA I would try a regular one maybe.

I'm not sure if you've heard of the allen diet but type 1 who didn't go into dka actually managed to survive 3-4 years or so I think on that diet too. Donating money towards a cure is always good but that isn't likely to be happening any time soon unfortunately, so maybe we should all donate money for emergency insulin production by people who would be able to do it. Just an idea, but maybe not a real possibility.

Not against preparing for emergencies. I am a computer programmer, and I worked on Y2K remediation. As a result, like other programmers in that situation I spent some time preparing for what might happen.

The problem is, when you study the situation what falls out is simple. Communities survive, individuals don't. The best you can prepare for is a few months until systems start coming back on line. If systems stay down, eventually there is nothing you can do as an individual. Even at Walden, Thoreau had to borrow an ax.

So thats what I do. I have several months worth of supplies stashed around the house and now about two months worth of insulin. Beyond that, you need a strong, stable community filled with compassionate intelligent people. Hard to find even now.

Because we have a chronic incurable disease, we also need a community with enough spare technological resources to help us. I might add there are a lot of other people besides diabetics kept alive by technology that will be sharing our dilema.

On the positive side, someone is testing GM plants that produce insulin as a way of reducing costs relative to E. coli expression systems. If they get that working, we might be able to garden our insulin. Of course that won't help my friend with the transplanted kidney get immunosuppresants.

Thanks for the lead on the Allen diet.

Being prepared is a good thing. My point is, we have a dependency on technology that healthy people do not, and that limits how much we can do to prepare. We can worry about that, or we can be happy its 2013 and not 1913, so we are alive to discuss this. ;-) (first patients were treated with insulin in 1921-22)

I just on insulin last week. Already planing to get stock up before winter and bad storm. I keep all my supply in hard case in hallway closet right by my bathroom . Where I would go if tornado would come.

As I agree an A1c of 11 is toxic, that isn't the basis for this discussion. I did do a lot of research, and what it takes to extract the insulin from Farm Animals is a very extensive process, and takes a lab to do it correctly. Therefore, I don't think it would work in an emergency preparedness situation. It's sad to think about, but if the manufacturing of insulin no longer exists, then it is survival of the fittest, and well... Good luck to those of us who are diabetic. Being as the chance of that happening is so slim, there isn't a whole lot to worry about, but a fun discussion nonetheless.

I'm definitely happy to have found out I'm type1 in 2013 and not pre 1921 of course :) I remember watching a great film about the discovery and development of insulin,and being very moved by it, long before I had any idea I had diabetes, so I had a lot more knowledge about it already than most people seem to. It's so odd that I now have type 1, it's almost as if something was drawing me to gain knowledge about it when I watched that film.

Anyway.. I understand your points.. I just always err on the side of caution etc. and I do think you can keep a much larger supply of insulin because it will last 3 years I think at the right temps. Someone on another website had a plan to dig a hole in the ground to keep meds and foods cool... like was done in some cultures.

I just found these links also which relates to what we're talking about... maybe at some point we won't need to keep insulin cool, that would help a lot.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=IE&hl=en-GB&v=xlOBl_nEits&feature=related#normal

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130109131540.htm

good idea... I'm going to put some supplies, minus the insulin, in a carrier to be ready in case something like that happens.

Good luck to anyone who relies on the medical system, really. Anyone who requires ongoing treatments or medications like those on dialysis or oxygen would be in just as much trouble (or more) than those of us who rely on insulin. Anyone who has any condition that is minor most of the time but that could become severe without warning, like allergies or asthma, may be fine until they suddenly need emergency medication that doesn't exist. Anyone with heart disease, high blood pressure, anemia, or a million other conditions may be fine in the short term but facing the same dilemma in months or years with an uncontrolled condition.

In reality, I think there are a lot of us, diabetic or not, who have survived only because of modern medicine and would not have survived a hundred years ago. I think this is probably a larger portion of developed countries than most of us realize, and we'd all be facing similar problems if the medical system and manufacturing of medications and supplies broke down ...

I know I myself would be dead several times over if I'd been born a hundred years ago. I am grateful every day for being born in the time and place that I was. I think if society collapsed tomorrow I would focus on trying to help those around me and would try to make my insulin last as long as possible, knowing that I probably wouldn't be one of the ones around to rebuild when things stabilized. Depressing to think about, in a way, but I think like most things in life, most people would handle it better when the time came than they imagine they would when just thinking about it.

I forgot, the gardening our insulin sounds great to me!

so true Jen, there will be a lot of people in trouble, which is why I think we all need to figure out things to do and help each other as much as possible... one of my neighbors stored my extra insulin for me during Sandy when we had no generator.

I have to say, I'm not going to worry about where I will get insulin if there is a global economic and societal collapse. I guess I'm just not a good survivalist. Instead, I'd rather make sure that we avoid such problems. I don't think they are inevitable and it is important for us as individuals to advocate strongly to work as a society to prevent these problems.

And in my view, if we get to a point where insulin can no longer be produced because of an economic collapse then we are in a much worse world of hurt. A substantial fraction of the world population would likely starve to death. In such a case, I might have to struggle to get insulin to stay alive, but everyone else will be suffering as well.

I prepare for "outages." I stock up and am prepared for loss of power and water for 2-3 weeks easily. And I can keep my insulin ok for that time.

I'd check out some survivalist websites on this one. To do it right, it requires a lot of knowledge and equipment.

I think the way to go would be to stockpile insulin, and get one (and a backup) of those tiny soda refrigerators along with some sort of solar power rig going with it. I'd probably stockpile metformin to be able to decrease my body's glucose production. Some brands of insulin are labelled to be good for 2 years, but I'd wager that there would be remaining insulin that is effective at the 5-7 year mark. If an unopened vial loses half of its insulin after 4 years, that means you still have half of the insulin.

Then you need testing supplies. There might be a few types of plants that would help with diabetes as well. So all that buys you 4-6 years, and by then you or someone else will have figured out how to produce the stuff.

Enertaining topic. I have considered the doomsday scenario and all have gone poorly for insulin dependent diabetics. Best case scenario is keep a lot of supplies on hand.

I have never considered harvesting insulin from beef and pork pancrei. That is an interesting concept and IMO an insulin dependent's best option in a doomsday environment. I do doubt that many livestock's pancrei would be available to random people. I have worked labs and I doubt there would be sufficient matereials to produce our own inulins (constant power, incubators, PCR machines, nucleotides, knowledge/expertise, etc.)

If I completely believed my supplies would run out and I would face death. I would go to every pharmacy and beg, plead, bargain or even steal insulin and supplies for life.

If all other options ran out I would sit on my porch with a bottle of BG lowering liquor and cross my fingers.

we had some fun talking about thishere before

I figure we are all out of luck if something huge happens. I told my son that if there is a Zombie event of some kind, I would volunteer to do something to protect the group. Really, it would be a waste to spend food resources on us, when we would have a limited time without insulin. I plan to go out as a hero!!!

So here's what's not clear to me. In the event of a zombie apocalypse, is it possible to harvest the insulin or the pancreas from a zombie? Is there a difference if it is newly turned or its been a zombie for a while? I don't think there would be any ethical concerns, but what about the pathogenic risks? We all know that a zombie bite is deadly, but does anyone know if the zombie virus also infects the zombie pancreas? I've scoured the internet and see that there is really no conclusive study at this time.