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Old 05-10-2011, 17:41   #1
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Cruising with Diabetes

Iím talking with some about going cursing for an extended period of time. This person has type 2 diabetes and does not feel that going cursing is a possibility? I do not know that much about the disease and would like to get some feedback from any one that has type 2 diabetes and is currently or has crusaded for and extended time period. It is my goal to a circumnavigation if possible?
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Old 05-10-2011, 18:12   #2
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Re: Cruising w/ diabetes

It all depends on the level that the diabates is at, and the treatment needed to control the condition. Some people have a mild form while others require constant care. Mine is just four pills a day with blood work yearly, with none of this pesky 'stick-em' testing stuff.

Then to, what level of cruising is planned.

As a side note there are hundreds of people cruising with far more serious medical conditions than a drug controlled type 2 diabetes. I've known several with type 1 diabetas requiring multlble daily insulin shots who have continued cruising for years.
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Old 05-10-2011, 18:15   #3
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Re: Cruising w/ diabetes

My darling is a Type 1 diabetic and has been for 35 years. She has fine tuned the control of her BG's to something amazing. I have volunteered for 25 years for a Blind Sports organization, I have met many a diabetic.
Even though she has fine tuned her control of her BG's she still refuses to sail off shore with me. I know she could do it because we raced together for year, and insulin storage safety is not the issue. Her fear is she doesn't want to have to be relied upon for the safety of others, for fear of her BG's bottoming out because of stress. I wholly respect that decision and do not force the issue as the decision is hers, as she respects my decision to sail off shore. She's more than willing to fly where ever I make land fall. Ya gotta love her.

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Old 05-10-2011, 18:23   #4
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Re: Cruising w/ diabetes

type 2 diabetes, if in a heavy soul, will diminish as activity rises and size dwindles. is not insulin dependent. the tablets taken are found in many countries, not just usa. a meter for testing blood sugar is already in the possession of the individual, if is serious about this. ingredients for foods are similar world wide, just placed into cookpots in different fashion. the disease doesnt change from nation to nation , continent to continent. treatment is universal.
ask friend/lover/spouse, whatever, how that person FEELS about the pending. may just come out that the person doesnt WANT to go .


in days long gone, it was called non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus.
pancreas still makes insulin, just not enough for use either because of body size, or just cannot make enough to process foods. a pill makes pancreas secrete more insulin.

in some cases diet controls it and no meds are needed.
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Old 05-10-2011, 18:42   #5
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Re: Cruising w/ diabetes

I'm now type 1 and have been diabetic for nearly 30 years. Took the pills for about 20 of those years before the doctor convinced me to go on insulin. Best thing that's happened since I've had the problem. Did a single handed TransPac last summer without a problem. Biggest issue with diabetes is low blood sugar in stress situations. When the whisker pole pretzeled about the 5th day out, initial adrenalin rush got me a bit hypo glycemic. Just took it easy, thought about what I needed to do and handled it. The moments pause was actually a benefit as I figured out an easy way to take care of the situatio.

Since they are type II, no problems with keeping insulin cool. I did a little experimentation and have found that Insulin will keep at Hawaii Temps for more than a month. Haven't discovered how long it will actually keep because I've always used the vial up. So just stored my insulin at the bottom of the uniced ice box for the preparation and sailing time to get to Hilo from SF. If I was to do any extended cruising, would probably want to have a minimal refrigeration system so I could store a six month supply of insulin without fear of it going bad. Could probably get by easily just buying fresh insulin as needed. Diabetes is a universal health problem and doubt you'd find anywhere that you couldn't buy insulin.

Being on a boat seems to increase my activity level and the amount I eat decreases. Don't need nearly as much insulin under way and tend to lose weight which I can always stand to do. In short, sailing is actually better for my health than staying ashore. A type 2 diabetic may have to adjust the strength of the pills they are taking to control their blood sugar. Then again, they may find that they won't even need to take any medicine if they take to sailing the way I do. In any case, I'd take a variety of pills in various strengths just in case they need or more less.

Personally, think that there may be other issues that you and they need to address beyond the diabetes. I've never let my diabetes effect my life
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Old 05-10-2011, 19:13   #6
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Re: Cruising with Diabetes

This is a great thread you started. I hope a lot of people will look and contribute on what has worked and what hasn't.
Since moving from the great white north to the tropics, my darling has employed these little items. FRIO insulin wallets, cooler pouches - Frio Insulin cooling travel wallets and they work fantastic for insulin storage and only require a bit of water to activate the hygroscopic beads which act as an evaporative cooler. We lived on the hook in the TCI's for a year and a half and this is all she used and never lost insulin
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Rhythm of the surf, drums of the sea. Thoughts tumble and toss about the deep blue abyss inside me, where the love of you dwells.
I'm fighting currents to get back to you, listening to the flow of your liquid language as you beckon me, "Come Play"
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Old 05-10-2011, 19:39   #7
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Re: Cruising with Diabetes

Whilst it is great to hear everyones experiences.
I would strongly reccomend she talk to her doctor and/or endocrinologist and diabetes educator.

It really depends so much on the individual.

There are also wonderul insulin pumps if she needs one which can help greatly.

Good luck and never let anything get in your way to have fun.
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Old 05-10-2011, 19:53   #8
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Re: Cruising with Diabetes

My Dad has been a type 1 diabetic for 62 years. He would drop everything in a heartbeat to go cruising if offered the chance. We would manage for his medical needs and get along fine. I would prolly have him checking his monitor every 15 minutes if he was being active, because physical activity always messes up his levels. But it would be manageable.

I would NOT take him off shore so far as to be out of helicopter range. In the event of a crisis he needs access to a hospital ASAP, not when we manage to motor back in because the rig came down and he was injured and in a diabetic coma... But if we were going to be more than say 150 miles off shore he could fly to meet us at the next port.

I don't think your friends problem is diabetes. Sounds like a mindset.

Some people are just more timid than others.
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Old 05-10-2011, 20:56   #9
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Re: Cruising with Diabetes

I would not be concerned so much about insulin supply as I could about having a plan to treat the complications of diabetes so that they do not turn into a life threatening problem.

I treat a lot of diabetets who get MERSA infections all over their bodies. An untreated MERSA infection can easily kill a person, and a diabetic needs to have a plan on how to treat MERSA when out of the reach of medical facilities.

Diabetics get into trouble with the circulation in their toes and feet and end up with amputations. Trimming toenails improperly can make big problems if you cut your foot because of poor wound healing and wounds on the feet and toes that get infected. Care also needs to be taken to protect toes and feet from cuts, that in a non-diabetic would not be a problem.

Diabetics need to take additional precautions when cruising to have an enjoyable troublefree cruise.
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Old 05-10-2011, 22:47   #10
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Re: Cruising with Diabetes

mrsa, or methacillin resistant staphylococcus aureus can be found in some bay waters, as in san diego, ensenada, others. none of the 'cillin drugs will do anything against it. people take antibiotix for the wrong reasons, and mrsa was mutated. is not merely a skin thing--can be anywhere in body. not fun.
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Old 05-10-2011, 23:08   #11
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Re: Cruising with Diabetes

Heck, as I am SURE Zee knows.. it's found in our finest medical facilities...

: -P
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Old 05-10-2011, 23:21   #12
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Re: Cruising with Diabetes

true, that. and is most difficult to cure-- staph never goes entirely away unless is treated for 2 weeks with iv cipro or levaquin.
long ago when mrsa was first found in intensive care areas and obstetrics areas, these infected areas were closed for almost a week to clean and disinfect and sterilize the units. reports went to cdc and life sukked for that hospital. as the problem advanced, the stringent practices were eased and terminal cleaning for after isolation were used.
that is what is done today.
but the problem is way out of the hospital now and into our rivers and streams and bays. be careful in water especially if you scrape barnacles off the hull of your boat in a city harbor.
san diego has it, san francisco has it, mexico has it--is everywhere., seems now is a natural flora of the skin. we have made this happen by over using antibiotics for common cold VIRUS and other viral attacks --virus do not respond to antibiotics. is a waste of the body's immunities to take antibiotics for acne as well as for common colds.
best fix for acne is soap and water frequently, best cure for common cold is rest, fluids and vitamins and more fluids., it will go away in 2 weeks by itself. treat the symptoms and wait it out.
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Old 06-10-2011, 00:32   #13
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Re: Cruising with Diabetes

very good advice from all the above posters,constant exercise on a boat will profoundly improve a diabetics control,though some thought needs to go into when you take your meds as sailing is a 24/7 occupation,though more relevant to insulin dependent diabetics.
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Old 06-10-2011, 04:04   #14
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Re: Cruising with Diabetes

My philosophy is to do what I can now because I may not be able to later. I plan for possibilities; plan for options of what can go wrong; plan to minimize problems in case they do happen.

I plan to do
I do not plan not to do

A short time ago a boat broker was expressed concern that I would have problems with a boat - he saw me wearing a knee brace and using a cane - I told him do not worry about me, if I cannot do something I will not do it.

As for medical problems, I do have those and plan accordingly. I will not let others stop me from doing. I know the risks of doing.

All told I look forward to many years on the water, living and cruising.
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Old 06-10-2011, 05:01   #15
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Re: Cruising with Diabetes

I hope you don't mind a little thread drift....I am not diabetic, and have medication that doesn't require refrigeration, but is temperature sensitive. I would be interested in hearing about methods of keeping meds cool and dry sans refrigeration. I really, really, don't want to install a fridge on my boat.
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