Manage chronic conditions before and during travel- Says International SOS

Wednesday, November 18, 2015admin

On World Diabetes Day, International SOS is encouraging people to get tested for the disease.


One in two people with diabetes do not know they have it.


• WHO projects that diabetes will be the seventh leading cause of death by 2030.


• Chronic diseases such as diabetes can pose greater risk to some business travellers than infectious diseases.


• If you know you have the disease, you can prevent its complications.


Failing to manage chronic conditions like diabetes effectively can pose greater risk to some travelling business executives than infectious diseases, International SOS said on World Diabetes Day.


The World Health Organisation estimates that diabetes affects 9% of people over the age of 18 worldwide.


In 2014, approximately 387 million adults had diabetes, and by 2035 this number is expected to reach 592 million, according to the International Diabetes Federation.

Some 1.5 million deaths were caused directly by diabetes in 2012, the last year for which figures are available, according to the World Health Organisation. Diabetes is also a significant risk factor in heart disease, stroke and kidney failure.


Without preparation, the ongoing medical management of chronic conditions like diabetes can be disrupted during business travel. Travelling across time zones can complicate schedules for taking medications.Travellers also need to be careful not to lose or run out of needed medications. Finding replacements can be inconvenient or even hazardous. In some countries in the developing world between 10-30% of medications are counterfeit, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Dr Fanie Jute, a Medical Director with International SOS says: “Often when considering medical risk abroad, travellers focus on infectious diseases they may contract in exotic locations. Whilst these are serious risks that need to be mitigated, for many people a more significant concern is managing the chronic diseases that they take with them, such as diabetes.”


International SOS is the world’s leading medical and travel security risk services company, operating in more than 850 locations in 92 countries. It is focused on enabling organisations to meet their duty of care to travelling and expatriated workforce. So far this year, International SOS’s global assistance centres have helped with medical advice and referrals by managing 4.7 million calls from members about various medical conditions including diabetes.


“Thankfully we help many times more people with diabetes and other chronic conditions every year to plan ahead carefully how they are going to manage their condition whilst they are travelling,” said Dr Jute.

International SOS offers the following advice to individuals travelling with diabetes:


• Visit your healthcare professional well in advance of travel to ensure your diabetes is stable and optimally controlled before your trip. You might also require potential dosage adjustments, vaccination and other health education.


• Request an official letter from your healthcare professional describing your condition to carry along with your medication in its original containers, equipment required (e.g. syringes, glucometer) and a copy of your prescriptions.


• Take a good supply of your regular medication in your hand luggage. Your medication may not be available in all countries and counterfeit medication may be common.


• Members are advised to contact International SOS for assistance in sourcing appropriate healthcare providers when they are abroad if required.


• Maintain a healthy diet and active lifestyle even when away from home.




1. International Diabetes Federation.


About International SOS


International SOS ( is the world’s leading medical and travel security risk services company. We care for clients across the globe, from more than 850 locations in 92 countries.


Our expertise is unique: More than 11,000 employees are led by 1,400 doctors and 200 security specialists.


Teams work night and day to protect our members.


We pioneer a range of preventive programmes strengthened by our in-country expertise. We deliver unrivalled emergency assistance during critical illness, accident or civil unrest.


We are passionate about helping clients put ‘Duty of Care’ into practice. With us, multinational corporate clients, governments and NGOs can mitigate risks for their people working remotely or overseas.