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From Iowa, USA:

My nephew, who has type 1 diabetes and lives in Mexico, takes no medicines nor does he see a doctor because his family is poor. He has gone into a diabetic coma and been treated at the hospital, but once he is stable, they let him go with prescriptions which they cannot afford to fill. In addition, they have had no information or classes on how to live with diabetes. Please help us help our nephew. He can't die of a treatable disease just because he's poor!

Is there an international or Mexican diabetes agency or organization that can help provide free blood testing supplies and insulin, etc.? Is there an agency that offers informational brochures in Spanish? What would be a good diet for our nephew to eat considering beans and tortillas are the most readily affordable and available foods? The hospital doctor told him not to eat tortillas. What's up with that? Isn't that a good carb? Where you point, we shall go.


Here are some thoughts:

  1. If your nephew was in diabetic coma when first diagnosed and now 'takes no medicines' then, since he is Hispanic I think it probable that he does not have the type 1A (autoimmune) form of diabetes but rather idiopathic or type 1B -- which often can be managed without insulin. It would be important to find the answer to this because it affects treatment.

  2. For literature and possible help with drugs and supplies you should contact the Mexican Diabetes Association, Newton No 7,Depto 1012,Cal Polanco Chapultapec, Mexico DF 11560. Mexico or You could also write to The American Dietetic Association, 216 West Jackson Blvd, Chicago, ILL 60606-6995 or tel 312-899-0040 for their folder 'Planification de Comidas con Alimentos Mexicanoamericanos'. Beans and Tortillas are quite acceptable, but he do need some fruit or vegetables in addition.

  3. Getting a blood glucose monitor is going to be the main problem. The FreeStyle is not expensive and stores like RiteAid usually have them. However, the strips are likely to need a continuing supply unless your nephew's blood sugars can be relatively easily managed without insulin or drugs to lower blood sugars and only a few blood sugar tests would be needed.


Additional comments from David Mendosa, A Writer on the Web:

There is another organization that might help, Insulin for Life Inc. in Australia. Since 1986 it has donated 1,250,000 mls of insulin, 1.4 million syringes, 210,000 blood test strips and quantities of insulin pens, needles, lancets, monitors and other items to people in 40 countries, including Mexico. Their email contact address is

Your nephew will need to check his blood sugar levels with a meter and test strips. If you can't get them at no cost, and if you are not too far from Guadalajara to get back there from time to time, the WalMart store there probably carries its ReliOn house brand of blood glucose meter, the lowest cost meter and test strip supply on the market in the U.S.

I list many Spanish language resources for people with diabetes on-line. See Diabetes Resources Part 9: Non-English Web Sites.


Original posting 22 Mar 2003
Posted to Community Resources and Daily Care


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:42
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