If you use insulin and plan future air travel, take note: Changes in cabin pressure may cause air bubbles to form in your insulin pump, altering the amount of medication delivered. Researchers found that as a plane took flight, pumps delivered an additional 1 to 1.4 insulin units as cabin pressure decreased. Upon landing, insulin delivery came up short by about 1 unit as air pressure increased.

Whether this affects you depends on factors such as your insulin sensitivity, food intake and pump settings. Researchers suggest talking with your doctor about whether this is cause for concern and how to handle the changes.

One solution may be disconnecting the pump before takeoff and after landing.

Source: Diabetes Care, vol. 34, p. 1932; Prepared by the Editors of The Johns Hopkins Medical Letter: Health After 50

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at Healthcommunities.com

Published: 21 Jul 2013

Last Modified: 22 Jul 2013