Did you knowthat 30.3 million people in the United States are living with diabetes? Diabetes is a complex disease affectingmultiple systems throughout the body. Itcauses complications such as hypoglycemia which is defined as a blood sugarlevel less than 70 mg/dL. Hypoglycemiacan cause dizziness, anxiety, sweating, blurred vision and hunger, just to namea few symptoms. In 2014, The Centers forDisease Control reported that hypoglycemia was responsible for 245,000emergency department visits.
As aRegistered Nurse and Certified Diabetes Educator, I teach diabetics torecognize these symptoms. I often tellthem that although these symptoms may be uncomfortable, they assist inidentification and treatment. If thesesymptoms are left untreated, the diabetic could experience seizures and/orcoma. As the diabetic loses their ability to recognize these hypoglycemicepisodes, man’s best friend, a Diabetes Alert Dog (DAD) can help. A DiabetesAlert Dog (DAD) is specially trained to detect changes in a diabetic’s bloodchemistry.
These dogs accomplish this byusing their keen sense of smell. TheDiabetes Alert Dog (DAD) has undergone specialized training to alert thediabetic to take quick action in treating hypoglycemia. The Diabetes Alert Dog (DAD) is trained toalert for these changes approximately 15-30 minutes prior to a diabeticexperiencing any symptoms, giving the diabetic an opportunity to treat thehypoglycemia before it becomes severe. The Diabetes Alert Dog (DAD) will alert the diabetic in several ways toindicate hypoglycemia including: bringing objects to the diabetic such as medications or a phone to callfor help or alert a family member. The DiabeticAlert Dog (DAD) is not meant to replace a blood glucose monitoring device or acontinuous glucose monitor.
Rather itis useful in providing the diabetic with an extra layer of security and a greatcompanion. The Diabetes Alert Dog istruly an amazing animal and is covered under the Americans with DisabilitiesAct as a service animal. Serviceanimals wear special vest or a harness and are permitted to accompany the owneranywhere members of the public are permitted to go.
Diabetes Alert Dogs are in high demand. In fact, after you locate an organization thewait for a dog could be from two months to more than five years and due to theextensive training, the dogs can be expensive. The average cost for a Diabetes Alert Dog (DAD) is $2000-$25,000. At this time most, commercial insurancepolicies do not cover the cost of a service dog, however, many non-profitagencies will assist with the cost of the dog.