Diabetic tools could be damaged by airport security equipment

If you have diabetes, you might want to travel by land instead of air.

A recent editorial appearing in the journal Diabetes Technology and Therapeutics warns that airport security measures, such as body and X-ray scanners, can affect diabetic devices like insulin pumps or glucose monitoring tools.

Electromagnetic malfunctions

University of Colorado researchers Andrew Cornish and H. Peter Chase conducted the study. They found that the nature of airport security equipment could cause electromagnetic malfunctions in diabetic equipment, which is built to be inherently sensitive. Metal detectors don't appear to interfere with these devices, but TSA regulations now require most everyone to go through a body scan.

The study notes a case of a diabetic patient who was ordered to go through airport security, even though she had a doctor's note explaining the risks. Many diabetic device manufacturers suggests that individuals request a pat-down or metal detector test and opt out of full-body scans altogether. According to Medtronic, patients that cannot opt out of a body scan should remove their devices before going through.

The need for more research

"Given the increased use of insulin pump therapy, not only in the U.S. but around the world, with hundreds of thousands of people using this technology, it seems critical that more research is funded to better understand and potentially repair this problem," said Dr. Irl Hirsch, Senior Editor of Diabetes Technology and Therapeutics and Professor of Medicine at the University of Washington Medical Center.

To be safe, diabetics should check with the organizations that make their medical devices as companies often provide guidance about rules and regulations for airport security checks.

Sources: EMax Health, Diabetes.co.uk

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