ARC 2018: Atlantic Ocean crossing for a diabetic type 1 crew
Saturday, November 10, 2018 6:30 PM
The next round of the ARC 2018 competition, the Atlantic regatta starting off Las Palmas in the Canaries and arriving at the Caribbean Island of St Lucia, involves a special crew of diabetic patients (type 1, insulin-dependent), their doctor, the head of the ‘Diabetologia della ASSL Olbia-ATS Sardegna’ (local National Health Service), and the boat’s skipper.
The focus of this challenge is to study and monitor the effects (physiological and others) of a prolonged stay on board a 15 metre boat crossing the Atlantic Ocean, to prove that today type 1 diabetes is not and should not be considered a debilitating disease. It is in fact a common view that those who suffer from the condition should limit their physical activity and avoid extreme conditions, while with the right approach and awareness (of the condition and of the activity being carried out) limits can be, if not completely eradicated, at least considerably reduced. The crew has now been preparing for months for this experience. Together with the medical staff, different ways to monitor blood glucose levels are being studied, psychological profiles are being analysed and daily ‘menus’ are being prepared with the crew’s needs and situation being taken into consideration.
During navigation, the latest technological innovations will be used: micro-pumps to administer insulin without the aid of syringes, interfaced to the sensors for the continuous control of blood glucose and to the personal smartphones to guarantee maximum flexibility and simplicity of usage. All of this will take place under medical supervision (the doctor is on board) and via a daily satellite sending gathered data to a base in Olbia, where another doctor, assisted by a dietary biologist and by a psychologist, will analyse the individual profiles of the participants and will suggest variations in the diets and in the insulin administration. The final objective of the project is to demonstrate that the Atlantic crossing or other similar expeditions can take place even without the presence of a doctor on board, a situation that is not always possible. The realisation of the project was possible thanks to the technology available but also to the commitment of the patients, of the doctors and sponsors - primarily the A.D.M.S., (Sardinia Association Diabetes mellitus and coeliac disease) and the SIMDO (Italian Society of Metabolism Diabetes and Obesity) which have materially contributed by covering almost all the costs of this challenge.