Though frequent travelling has become a regular fixture in the lives of Indians thanks to the demands of both work and home, it’s not an easy job for many. Health issues continuously plague Indians, with heart ailments and diabetes, topping the disease charts.
Statistics show that 40.9 million people were suffering from diabetes in 2007 and an increase of 69.9 million is projected by 2025.
Diabetics often keep worrying about blood glucose levels, meals etc while travelling. However, experts say that a little planning that help diabetics travel without worrying a lot.
Following are some measures that can be taken by diabetics who make sure they travel in peace.
* See your doctor prior to travelling to assess the state of your diabetes and take advice on how to keep it in control while travelling.
* If you are on insulin, make sure to store it in a safe place, away from direct sunlight. Insulin loses its potency when subjected to extremes in temperature.
* While travelling if you eat out frequently, take extra care in making the right food choices.
* Watch your meal timings and avoid long gaps in between the meals.
Avoid skipping meals as it may lead to hypoglycaemia (dangerously low level of blood glucose).
* Keep some snacks handy while travelling to maintain blood glucose levels.
Flying with diabetes: Important tips while travelling abroad:
* Patients with dietary restrictions should contact their airline in advance about special meal options.
* Consult your doctor regarding time zone changes, jet-lag and drug and insulin dosage.
* Obtain a travel itinerary showing departure and arrival times, durations of flights, and time differences between the points of arrival and departure.
* Remember to keep a doctor’s letter for Customs officials regarding your medical supplies, in case you need medical treatment overseas.
* If travelling abroad, prepare a list of suitable foods available there in advance to ease your meal plans.
* Different food and sitting for long periods can make your BGLs rise, remember to test your blood glucose level while flying.
* Stand up and walk around as often as possible to increase circulation, keep blood glucose levels under control and prevent clots.
* Healthy snacks which are fibre rich, low fat and low calorie, taken in between the main meals, are ideal for people with diabetes, especially while travelling.
* Stick to the basics instead of binging on fat rich preparations.
* Baked dishes are better than fried ones as they offer lesser calories and fat.
* Keep a check on portion sizes while eating out.
* Have fibre-rich foods including whole grain preparations and salads.
* Drink plenty of water and avoid having sugary drinks and alcohol.
Snacking in between the main meals works great for people with diabetes. Not only does snacking curb the hunger pangs, but it also defends the person from abrupt ebb and flow of blood glucose.
Snacks prepared from whole grains like oats and ragi are rich in fibre, have a low glycemic index (GI) and slack the process of digestion releasing the sugar gradually in the blood stream unlike simple carbohydrates which promptly raise the blood glucose levels.
Oats and ragi, being good sources of soluble fibre, have been found to have cholesterol lowering effects, thus diminishing the risk of cardiac disorders.
It is best to have baked snacks which have minimal fat rather than feasting on fat and calorie-dense fried preparations. Baked snacks, enriched with grains like oats and ragi, are fibre rich; low fat, trans-fat free and low calorie are the best pick for people with diabetes while travelling. It’s a good idea to stock snacks before leaving for a long trip.