Forums: Skydiving: General Skydiving Discussions:
Diabetes and Skydiving

 


celljumper  (B 21614)

Feb 28, 2003, 3:24 PM
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Diabetes and Skydiving Can't Post

I am very curious to see how many of you out there have diabetes or know someone who has diabetes, specifically Type 1 (insulin dependent) that also jumps.

I have Type 1 and wear an insulin pump. Most of the people I jump with know I am a diabetic. Since I am in very good control because of the pump, I rarely have reactions that anyone notices but myself, although it does happen occasionally. BUT I also know for a fact that an insulin reaction is not something I want to feel coming on when I'm sitting on the plane, and I constantly think about it, check my blood, take my time just to make sure I'm feeling ok. It's basically a whole 'nother equation in my head when I'm up there.
Are there any DZdotcommers that are diabetics? other medical conditions? How do you deal with it when jumping for the whole day? Do you let others know?

Meg


blewaway5  (A 38803)

Feb 28, 2003, 4:30 PM
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Re: [celljumper] Diabetes and Skydiving [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm not, but it seems that telling the others at the dz would be a really good idea. Just seems prudent to meSmile


tombuch  (D 8514)

Feb 28, 2003, 4:51 PM
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Re: [celljumper] Diabetes and Skydiving [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I am very curious to see how many of you out there have diabetes or know someone who has diabetes, specifically Type 1 (insulin dependent) that also jumps.

I've encountered several skydivers with diabetes, including one instructor who stopped doing tandems because of his diagnosis, but continued doing AFF for a few more years. At first I was shocked and thought it was a crazy idea, but the more I learned, the more reasonable it sounded. Chat it up, let your friends and fellow jumpers know about your diabetes. Ignorance is the enemy.


Scottyb  (B 30075)

Feb 28, 2003, 8:28 PM
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Re: [tombuch] Diabetes and Skydiving [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi! We're pretty new to skydiving and we're both diabetic. I wear a Minimed Insulin Pump and my husband does shots. Having diabetes shouldn't stop anyone from participating in such an incredible sport! When I told my doctor that I had started jumping, he told me he would love to try it. This spring or summer I hope to get him out for his first jump. The only thing we were worried about was having our blood sugar drop during the plane ride or the jump itself. To avoid this, we eat something (nothing big) without doing any insulin before we get on the plane. We'd rather do a little extra insulin once we safely land. Passing out at 13,500 is simply not an option. As for my pump, I usually disconnect it during the jump. I don't think my insurance company would pay another $14,000 to replace mine if something happened to the one I have. I can't imagine trying to explain to an insurance company that my pump was damaged while I was jumping out of a perfectly good airplane. Luckily, my husband and I are always at the drop zone together. We both know if one of us is having a low blood sugar and we react immediately. Also, a few of our instructors know we are diabetic and I wear a MedicAlert bracelet. I think we've got all our bases covered. As a matter of fact, the last time I jumped, my instructor made sure I took off my pump (I was so excited I almost forgot), locked it up for me, and made sure I put it back on as soon as I finished my jump. Just like you, we worry about having a low blood sugar while in the plane, but if it ever happens, we will just ride the plane back down. Our lives are more important than the money spent or the thrill of the jump. We'll grab a bite to eat and catch the next flight. The diabetes will never stop us from jumping! Cool

Sincerely,
Teri Bryan


smiles  (D 41)

Mar 1, 2003, 2:15 AM
Post #5 of 18 (17084 views)
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Re: [celljumper] Diabetes and Skydiving [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey! TongueTongueTongue

I've been skydiving 15 years and taking insulin since I was 10. I take humilin n and r injection /every a.m. and live a very balanced life.
Exercise/ diet/ ....checking blood sugars a pain but hell- I can control diabetes/ it doesn't control me.

One thing I always have to pack is food & snacks! Everyone at the d.z. luvs me cause I always have something to eat. I used to fear that adrenaline pumping would lower blood sugars fast, and to this day always nibble on something before manifesting and carry glucose tabs in my jumpsuit pocket.

Nice to know others jumping with diabetes- we should start a club!

SmilesWink


riggerrob  (D 14840)

Mar 1, 2003, 9:26 PM
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Re: [smiles] Diabetes and Skydiving [In reply to] Can't Post

Snacks are a good habit even for people who are not diabetic.
Most of the tandem students who have vomited on me skipped breakfast.
Their problem was all that adrenaline racing through their blood vessels, burning up all their blood sugar. Then after opening they feel faint from low blood sugar and either faint or vomit all over the place.
Hee! Hee!


falxori  (D License)

Mar 2, 2003, 9:41 AM
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Re: [celljumper] Diabetes and Skydiving [In reply to] Can't Post

i am.

every diabetic is different and you should consider the way you usually respond to changes in your routine.

usually i skip the noon shot and grab a snack bar before every load and put another in my pocket, just to be on the safe side.
i'd rather be hyper than hypo in the air.

if you run a normal life, you shouldn't have a problem skydiving.


riddler  (D 10234)

Mar 2, 2003, 12:48 PM
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Re: [riggerrob] Diabetes and Skydiving [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
Most of the tandem students who have vomited on me skipped breakfast.

This brings up a good point because I want to be a tandem instructor some day. Just how often do you get puked on? I see a lot of student jumpsuits every weekend that have been sprayed down and hung out to dry.


riggerrob  (D 14840)

Mar 2, 2003, 9:21 PM
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Re: [riddler] Diabetes and Skydiving [In reply to] Can't Post

I get puked on less than once per year.
We probaly average one puke per 300 jumps at Pitt Meadows.
Manifest always reminds them - when they make reservations - about dressing comfortably, eating breakfast, etc.
Tandem instructors also have a huge impact on the incidence of puking. Calming students in the airplane, talking to them while under canopy and minimizing the number of spirals can all reduce the incidence of puking.
The last student who puked on me complimented on my thorough briefing and re-assuring manner, but revealed that she had been suffering flu symptums all week!
Hee! Hee!


celljumper  (B 21614)

Mar 3, 2003, 9:59 AM
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Re: [Scottyb] Diabetes and Skydiving [In reply to] Can't Post

It'll never stop me from jumping either....or playing soccer or skiing or anything else I do for myself. I'm just sometimes amazed at the reaction I get from people who find out I'm a diabetic and then ask me...how can I do all the things I do. I say it's because of the pump!Cool
I'm on a minimed pump right now too but am about to switch to the new Cozmo pump. I find that the days that I skydive my blood sugars tend to run pretty high since I'm constantly taking the pump off to jump. There are times when I just have to skip a load to test blood/eat/take insulin but it's worth it to not feel like crap all day long. Thanks for responding....maybe we should start a club!

meg


pack40  (Student)

Mar 12, 2003, 6:36 AM
Post #11 of 18 (16881 views)
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Re: [celljumper] Diabetes and Skydiving [In reply to] Can't Post

In Hungary where I live you can not jump with diabetes.

Unfortunately my blood sugar level is not bad however after -let's say eating- it goes up and goes down slower than it should. So I was really scared, but at least it goes down. The highest number they measured -without eating, in the morning- was 6.5 -I do not know what is the unit of measurement.

Again unfortunately here in Hungary for jumping you have to have 2nd class medical certification issued by Civil Aviation Authority. I was lucky they measured 5.3 it was OK, but in August I have to go to renew it again I ma scared.

Oh, last thing: 2nd class aeronautical medical certification is good for:

Private Pilots, Glider Pilots, Ballon, Pilots, Flight Radiooperators, Flight Mechanics, Steward/esses
and "Parachutists"

Nice system isn't it, to be able to jump I have to fit as an astronaut.


falxori  (D License)

Mar 13, 2003, 8:09 AM
Post #12 of 18 (16854 views)
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Re: [pack40] Diabetes and Skydiving [In reply to] Can't Post

blood sugar level is measured in mg/dL.
normal values are 80-120 and could go up to 200 after you eat.
over 200 is considered high.

from the values you've specified, 5-6, i'm guessing it was H1C test, which is another test that indicated the average blood sugar levels in the past 3 months.
if i remember right, noral values are around 5. for diabetics , even 7 is ok.

i'm no doctor, but being diabetic, i know what i'm talking about.
you should monitor your condition closely, diabetes (type 1, insulin dependent) is something that can develop over months. and the sooner you start to treat it, the longer your "honeymoon" phase will be.

and as far as not skydive with diabetes? its sound really stupid to me, (after all, you can drive, work etc) . so my best suggestion to you is, move Cool

O


gcalder

Mar 13, 2003, 4:10 PM
Post #13 of 18 (16829 views)
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Re: [celljumper] Diabetes and Skydiving [In reply to] Can't Post

I am a type 1 diabetic and jump as much as I possibly can. I make sure that I have plenty to eat. I would rather be a little high than take a chance of having low blood sugar. You do not let diabetes stop you from driving do you? So why should you let it stop you from jumping. Just be extra careful, there is also the lives of the other jumpers to think of.


moodyskydiver

Mar 13, 2003, 6:10 PM
Post #14 of 18 (16817 views)
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Re: [celljumper] Diabetes and Skydiving [In reply to] Can't Post

My exfiance was type 1 diabetic and as far as I know he still jumps.He'd keep his shots near by just in case but for the most part he controlled alot of his problems with dieting when at the DZ. He wasnt the best at keeping on top of his condition though, actually going into DKA at the DZ once.

As for me, I'm hypoglycemic. I try to keep something in my system even if its just a snack bar or something so that I dont have a blood sugar problem while I'm at the DZ. If I'm not feeling at the top of my game I'll sit it out.When I did my 2nd tandem I hadnt eaten before my jump and my blood sugar hit bottom when we got under canopy..not a good feeling. But we quickly got down and things were ok after I sat for a little while in the landing area with some juice.I definitely learned my lesson..now I keep really regular on my eating habits if I'm going to be at the DZ all day.


pack40  (Student)

Mar 14, 2003, 12:50 AM
Post #15 of 18 (16796 views)
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Re: [falxori] Diabetes and Skydiving [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for the info, maybe here in Hungary they use
a different measurment

I know that at the medical test what I mentioned (for pilots, skydivers etc) the acceptable range is between I think 2 and 6.3 (the normal test is OK untill 6.5).

I just checked on the net the measurement is "mmol/l" (millimoles per Liter)
I think in US they use mg/dl (milligrams/deciliter).

The test does not shows the 3 month average as you must go with empty stomach, it shows the sugar/glucose level at the time of the test. Even a coffee can screw it up.

Check the following link


http://www.faqs.org/faqs/diabetes/faq/part1/section-9.html


So as a conclusion my sugar level is OK/normal/average just I have to be more carefull what I eat -everybody should do that-. And I HAVE TO loose that extra 8 kilos I have.


Regarding jumping with any medical problems.
The Hungarian Skydiving Association is just trying to convince the Civial Aviation Authority not to have medical tests for skydivers. It is expensive for a useless thing. I can screw up beginners courses, for example you go to a DZ you like jumping, you would try it but you can only do a tandem, becasue you need the medical paper for a S/l or AFF.

The test is one day -again 1 day of vacation-:

Blood test, urine sample, X-ray screening, ECG, blood-pressure test, dental test, eye test, ear/nose/throat, neurology test, psychological test.
The same as everywhere else in the World for pilots.


(This post was edited by pack40 on Mar 14, 2003, 1:41 AM)


kryos  (A License)

Mar 16, 2003, 12:47 AM
Post #16 of 18 (16757 views)
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Re: [riggerrob] Diabetes and Skydiving [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I get puked on less than once per year.
We probaly average one puke per 300 jumps at Pitt Meadows.

Lovely way of putting it. :)

In reply to:
Calming students in the airplane, talking to them while under canopy and minimizing the number of spirals can all reduce the incidence of puking.

LOL ... not me. I'd have killed the tandem instructor who "minimized" the number of spirals just to prevent me from puking. As one of my instructors said to me after a particularly radical tandem canopy ride ... "lady, I couldn't do that with anyone but you ... unless I wanted to be drenched in puke!"

Guess I'm lucky. I have a cast-iron stomach when it comes to motion-related problems. Aerobatics, spiraling tandem rides ... you name it ... whether I eat or don't eat beforehand ... not a problem. :)

Blue skies!

--rita


slim  (B License)

Mar 18, 2003, 9:50 AM
Post #17 of 18 (16719 views)
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Re: [celljumper] Diabetes and Skydiving [In reply to] Can't Post

I was diagnosed type 1 about three months ago...
kinda sucks, but so long as you know your body, and don't do anything stupid. ie. blood sugars start to fall and you tell yourself that you can get one more jump in before you eat, then you should be fine. I notice that the adrenaline tends to raise my blood sugars but then it quickly drops about 15 minutes after landing. Always keep a snack with you, as well as a glucometer.Wink


antonwestman  (D 474)

Apr 29, 2011, 4:28 AM
Post #18 of 18 (15417 views)
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Re: [celljumper] Diabetes and Skydiving [In reply to] Can't Post

A late reply regarding diabetes and skydiving. My name is Anton Westman and I am a Swedish skydiver and medical doctor. We are discussing this subject in my country right now and I would like to invite anyone with experience, MDs, nurses, or persons with diabetes, to share their knowledge and opinions.

In December 2010, a symposium about diabetes and risk sports was held at the annual general meeting of the Swedish Society of Medicine. The last years have seen improvements in therapies and monitoring technologies and the question was raised at the symposium whether people with type 1 diabetes may safely participate in some aerial activities. Skydiving was mentioned in particular and patient group representatives present at the symposium expressed a specific desire
for skydiving participation. During the closing panel debate, an assembly of representatives from various fields of aviation and medicine recommended that a select group of people with insulin-dependent diabetes should be allowed to
participate in skydiving under controlled forms.

Nothing would make me happier than to open the sky to people who want to jump but have previously been excluded in Sweden and several other countries. However, given the risk and present rules and regulations, this needs to be done with caution. If we are to do this under controlled forms, I am also thinking that perhaps we could contribute to the sport internationally, and try to propose some simple guidelines for people with insulin-dependent diabetes to safely participate in skydiving.

I expect some to call it madness to say that people with type 1 diabetes may safely participate in skydiving, and others to call it overly prohibitive to exclude this group of people from this sport. I would really welcome all opinions.

With best regards

Anton Westman, Sweden.



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