Recently, a friend who has diabetes posted on Facebook that she doesn’t go through the x-ray security machine at the airport beacuse x-rays, over several exposures, can denature insulin and render it ineffective. And as someone who has been on about 20 flights in the past 12 months and wears her insulin pump through every x-ray secutity checkpoint, this was A.) news to me and B.) not good news.
I had not heard this before, and I also have to say that personally, I don’t recall experiencing an issue with it. However I do recall plenty of trips where I’ve had less than awesome blood sugars, although I’ve always blamed that on travel/time change/lots of sitting/weird food. Could the scanners have fried my insulin a bit, pushing my BGs up for a few days? Hard to say, when there are so many factors at play.
My friend noted that it’s often several exposures (i.e. folks who travel on a plane and therefore go through security several times a week) that really do the most damage, saying she has a few friends who have testified that an entire cartridge of pump insulin has been fried due to the x-rays. But she also noted that there’s really no need to risk any denaturing when you can just get a pat down and save yourself from worrying about it at all., which is a good point if this is really a thing. Although, those are also a pain to request and endure in their own right for different reasons.
There’s a mixed bag of information about this when I looked it up on the Google Machine. Some folks swear it’s a problem, other people say there’s no scientific evidence to support this idea.
So of course, I turn to the only reliable source I really have in this world for all things diabetes (which is you guys) to find some answers. Is this a thing? Do I need to be opting out of x-rays at the airport? And what about extra insulin packed in my carry on that goes through the even more powerful x-ray machine? Can that be denatured? Inquiring minds that are soon to be airborn again want to know!