Diabetic Survival in a SHTF Scenario

One of the most challenging things to prepare for is a type 1 (insulin dependent) member of your network. However, contrary to what some believe it is possible to do and being a diabetic prepper does not have to be an oxymoron. Type 1 diabetics don’t have to count themselves dead when the SHTF if they follow a few prepping tips.

  • Stock up on as much insulin as possible! This cannot be overstated because type 1 diabetics must have insulin to survive. However, if they follow the steps below, they will not need nearly as much as they do under every-day circumstances. Stocking up on insulin takes time, so start today. The easiest way is to get your prescription filled as often as possible (based on doctors orders and what insurance will pay for), whether or not you need a refill or not. Stock up those vials and build a buffer using the first in-first out (FIFO) rule so you are NEVER USING EXPIRED INSULIN. In a year or so, you will have a decent supply of insulin. WARNING: Using expired insulin, especially vials not refrigerated, can cause death because insulin can form crystals over time that can kill you when injected.
  • Stock up on test strips, an extra tester or two (put on in an galvanized garbage can for EMP protection), and syringes. Although syringes can be used twice, three times, or even more…they are inexpensive and you should have a supply. Testing capabilities will be invaluable and a key to success in making the steps that follow work.
  • The key to diabetic survival in a SHTF situation in a low carbohydrate diet. The human body requires insulin to break down carbohydrates into usable energy. A high carbohydrate diet requires a lot of insulin to maintain blood sugar levels; conversely, a low carb diet requires less insulin to maintain blood sugar levels. This means staying away from breads, pastas, root vegetables, wheat, oatmeal, etc. The following are good low-carb foods to stock up on or plan to grow:
    • Sprouts
    • Lettuce
    • Kale
    • Zucchini
    • Tomatoes
    • Egg Plant
    • Spaghetti Squash
    • Cucumbers
    • Radishes
    • Asparagus
    • Broccoli
    • Cauliflower
  • Used stocked testing supplies to closely monitor blood sugar levels and use as little insulin as possible given your extremely low carb diet. Most diabetics will use far less insulin than normal on an extremely low carb diet, but without close monitoring, there will be no way to determine what that new level is.
  • Unfortunately, diabetic survival is not as easy as a low carbohydrate diet that doesn’t require much insulin. Without the sugars from carbs processed by insulin, the body will begin to make energy from fatty acids. This process releases ketone bodies that turn the blood acidic. There are ketone urine test strips available over the counter. However, any diabetic in survival mode, trying to use as little insulin as possible, will likely be generating ketones, so the best method is to try and treat their affects on the body. This can be done as follows:
    • Drink significant amounts of water to help avoid dehydration as the renal system and respiratory system attempt to alkalize the blood.
    • Drink a solution of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) to help alkalize the body.
    • Drink a solution of oral rehydration salts to maintain levels of potassium and sodium that can be quickly depleted as the renal system flushes the body.
    • Take magnesium and calcium supplements as these too can be quickly flushed from the body.
  • Know the symptoms of severe ketone body acidosis and use stocked insulin more liberally together with an increase in carbs and the previously mentioned treatments if they occur as death can result from ketone body acidosis. These symptoms include: nausea and vomiting, pronounced thirst, excessive urination, and abdominal pain.

Ultimately, there is no way for type 1 diabetics to survive indefinitely without insulin. However, a low carbohydrate diet, close monitoring of blood sugar levels to promote absolute minimum insulin usage, and the management of ketone body acidosis will make stocked insulin supplies last much longer.

The information, concepts, or opinions from CatastropheNetwork.org are intended for informational purposes only and must be evaluated by the reader, in consultation with a professional, to ensure viability for their individual situation.

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