Chronic Health Issues in a Post-Disaster World

An astonishing 51% of Americans are on long-term medications for chronic health issues. That number is on the rise, up four percent from just a few short years ago. One naturally has to wonder why our society is becoming less healthy, considering all the medical advances in the last century.

A fair amount of this has to do with our own bad habits. Obesity is on the rise, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic, and several of the most common chronic diseases we are facing as a society are directly related to obesity. Others, which may not be associated with obesity are affected by a poor diet lacking  in the necessary nutrients, while feeding the body excess sugar, salt and other things that act as poisons when over-consumed.

I have to ask… just how many people among the ranks of the preppers, are part of that 51%?

We are literally killing ourselves, while expecting our doctors to somehow give us long life, through the ingestion of pills. Yet that long life is largely in our own hands. If we could eliminate bad eating habits, replacing them with a simpler diet, not overloaded with sugar, salt and chemicals; something more like our ancestors used to eat, then we might get rid of many of those chronic health issues.

What we’re doing to ourselves today is bad enough; but what about how that will affect us in the wake of a major disaster? How are all those people going to survive, when the medicines their bodies depend on are not readily available?

William Forstchen barely touched on this topic in his acclaimed best-selling book, “One Second After.” In his novel, one of the main character’s daughters had Type 1 diabetes and his father-in-law, who was in a nursing home, had some sort of chronic illness. But when we compare that to the number of people suffering from chronic illness, requiring daily or even weekly maintenance doses of medicines, it is clear that he didn’t give the subject as much attention as it deserved.

The EMP Commission’s report made it eminently clear that we could expect 70 to 90 percent of the population to die in the first year after an EMP. I have to wonder though, whether that was just from starvation, as many quote it, or whether they took into account the number of people who would die, simply from not getting the medications that they needed to care for their chronic conditions. Somehow, I feel that while a large portion of those people may end up being “officially” reported as dying of starvation, the underlying medical reason for their death will actually be something like Type 2 Diabetes, Heart Disease, Strokes, or some other chronic health issue. 

I strongly suspect that the first major die-off of people in the wake of any TEOTWAWKI event will be those who have chronic conditions that they are taking maintenance doses of medications for. Once their on-hand stock of those medications is gone, their bodies will have to function without them. The question then becomes… just how well can their body function without those medications.

How can we say that we’re prepared, if we’re taking a handful of pills every day, and only have enough of those pills to last us a month? What will we do when they run out?

Stockpile Medications

The most obvious thing for any of us to do is to start stockpiling the medications we need for our chronic conditions. Of course, that’s easier said, than done. Most of those medications are by prescription only, so we can’t just go to the corner pharmacy and pick some extras up.

If you’ve got a good relationship with your doctor, you might be able to convince them to write you a prescription for an extra six months or even a year’s worth of your primary medicines, especially if your condition is stable and your medicine dosages haven’t changed for the last few years. But even doing that isn’t enough, as a true TEOTWAWKI event, by its very nature, isn’t going to make it possible to buy those medications a year later. All that will do, is extend the inevitable.

Another option, for those who can, is to buy your medications in Mexico. The Mexican pharmaceutical industry is excellent, producing everything but the most recent creations, where the patent hasn’t expired yet. Their prices are very reasonable and the quality is comparable to buying generic prescription medicines here in the United States. Not only that, but you don’t need a prescription for most things.

But even this might not be a good long-term solution. Yes, you can stockpile a year’s worth of medicines, or even more, this way. Since most medications are still good long after their “expiration date,” you should still be able to use these meds for years. But eventually any stockpile will run out.

Start More Healthy Habits Now

There are some health issues which are totally outside of our control; things that we are afflicted with, rather than what we afflict ourselves with. If we look at cancer, for example, there are cancers, like lung cancer, which are a direct result of our actions. Smokers are much more likely to get lung cancer than non-smokers, because of inhaling the smoke from their cigarettes. But there are also cancers, such as breast cancers, which people get, without having done anything to bring the cancer on.

Two common diseases which can be brought about by our own actions are high blood pressure (hypertension) and type 2 diabetes. Both have been shown to be related to obesity. So, if we have either of them, we should be working to bring out weight under control. While there is no guarantee that losing weight will eliminate the disease, there are plenty of examples of people who did eliminate their diabetes or high blood pressure by losing weight. I know people who have done so. I’ve known others who eliminated hypertension by changing their job or eliminating some other source of stress in their lives.

This is not to say that any and all chronic conditions can be solved by making changes to our diets. Only some can. But if there’s something we can do which will increase our chances of survival, shouldn’t we be doing it? If we’re all about survival, then it seems to me that we should do whatever we can, to help ensure our survival, even if that means changing our habits.

Another important aspect of this is exercise. The average prepper isn’t in good enough physical shape for a pleasant walk through the woods, let along carrying a bug out bag. Cutting and splitting logs for the fire for us is a major chore, not something we can just do before breakfast. If we can’t do the physical chores that are needed for survival, then we’re not in good enough shape.

Find Out What Foods Help or Hurt Our Conditions

Many health conditions can be affected by diet. For example, all diabetics know that they shouldn’t be eating sugar or carbohydrates. Here’s the kicker though… do we adapt our survival stockpile if we’re a diabetic prepper? if we have high blood pressure, do we buy low sodium canned goods, instead of the standard ones? After all, excessive salt can push our blood pressure upwards.

I can’t list all the different foods here and what diseases are affected by them, but that information is readily available. If your primary care physician hasn’t already given you a list of foods to avoid, then you should be able to find one online.

Keep in mind here that you will probably lose weight in any post-disaster situation, hopefully helping your overall health. But that doesn’t mean that you’ll necessarily be able to stop taking your meds, without serious consequences. Make sure that you know what you can and can’t do.

Find Natural Alternatives That We Can Grow Ourselves

Eventually, I always find myself coming back to natural alternatives to pharmaceutical medicines. That’s not to say that I’m an herbal medicine expert or that I’m even against modern pharmaceuticals. Rather, it’s just the most logical alternative I can find, for living in a time when we can’t get our prescriptions delivered right to our door.

The big problem I see with herbal medicine is that you can’t just go to some reference and get a definitive answer as to how much of what herbs you should take and in what form. Rather, most books and websites on herbal medicine will provide you with a list of possible herbs, that have been shown to have some positive effect on those with certain chronic conditions. You’ve got to figure it out from there.

One good thing about that is that you can concentrate on trying herbs that you can grow, in whatever part of the country you’re living in. You can also try different herbs or different combinations of herbs, seeking out which gives you the best results.

Regardless, you’re going to have to do a lot of personal experimentation to figure out just how much of which herbal remedies you’ll need. I’d recommend doing that now, while you can still get your prescriptions filled, rather than after a disaster strikes and you’re depending on those herbal remedies to keep you alive. If you can keep your symptoms under control now, with just those herbal remedies, you’ll actually be ready

Learn the Impact and Intervention Necessary

Having done all this, will you survive? Or, how long will you survive? Those are questions that only time will answer. Looking forward to that time, I would suggest learning to spot the symptoms that your body will display, showing that your home-grown medicines aren’t working. Teach your family those symptoms as well, so that they can keep an eye on you. Sometimes, we can’t see what’s happening in our own bodies, while those around us can.

There are some chronic conditions we can live with, just as long as we avoid certain activities, such as overactivity. If that’s the case, we need to be aware of the limitations our conditions will place on us, during a time of crisis, especially if we run out of our medications. In that case, we need to know how to recognize the onset of symptoms that show we are reaching the limits of our ability.

The next question that this brings us is whether or not there is some sort of medical intervention that can be done to save us. I’m not talking about emergency room intervention; but rather things that we can do for ourselves or that we can train family members to do for us. Some of these chronic conditions can be lived with, if we are ready to take care of outbreaks, when they come. But if the intervention requires something from the pharmacy, it’s probably not going to be any better than needing the medications to treat the condition.

Just Be Ready

As you can see, there are a number of options open to us, for taking care of our medical issues in a post-disaster world. The one option that we should not depend on, is our family physician being there to take care of us and our local pharmacy having the medicine that we need. Assuming they survive, they will be overwhelmed with patients who need their help, while suffering through severe supply problems; making it seem like they’re trying to work with one hand tied behind their backs.

Another thing that could happen, in a post-disaster world, is that your county health services could pull all the medical professionals together into one place, so that they can serve the maximum number of people possible. As part of that, they’d probably requisition the stock of pharmaceuticals at every pharmacy. While this will supposedly be done in the name of efficiency; it will only be efficient for those who can get to that central location. If you don’t live close, you may not get any medical support at all.

Written by

Bill White is the author of Conquering the Coming Collapse, and a former Army officer, manufacturing engineer and business manager. More recently, he left the business world to work as a cross-cultural missionary on the Mexico border. Bill has been a survivalist since the 1970s, when the nation was in the latter days of the Cold War. He had determined to head into the Colorado Rockies, should Washington ever decide to push the button. While those days have passed, the knowledge Bill gained during that time hasn’t. He now works to educate others on the risks that exist in our society and how to prepare to meet them. You can send Bill a message at editor [at]

Latest comments
  • Bill, I did not read your article before I make this comment. I have read many Preppers who have talked about stockpiling Meds taken regularly—so that is where I jumped into my comment–.
    Your first question was how many preppers are on long term Meds. I will “beat around the bush” an answer to your question. First, I take no meds at all; and will never take any. I’m 72. I do eat right and have for several years and I take a bunch of God-created health nutrients found in foods, but condensed into dosages that make sense to me and millions of Americans; and they are commonly referred to as “health supplements”.
    So here is my answer to your question; except that I am going “off your specific question”. It has been put out for quite awhile that 81.5% of Americans took at least one shot of Covid-Pfizer, or Covid-Bio-N-Tech or Covid-Moderna. For a long time it has been put out that Covid-Pfizer, the most used shot in USA and around the world [when it is in optimal form–meaning it didn’t get too hot, etc.]–it injected a number of Spike Proteins that SO FAR ARE CONSIDER PERMANENT IN THE BODY (UNTIL PROVEN OTHERWISE THAT HAS NOT HAPPENED). The amount of Spike Proteins was roughly 10% of any given person’s body cells. Each activated Spike Protein invades a cell (provided it is not hindered such as it may well be with N-acetyl Cistein (NAC) or Ivermectin, and there are some others)–Each Spike Protein makes multiple copies of itself to invade other cells. So, what may have started as permanently infecting (and mutilating 10% of one’s body cells) can multiply easily to affect 20% and or more of one’s body cells—permanently deforming them.
    With the first shot it must battle a healthy immune system; but after the first shot it is free to go where it wants WITH THE SECOND SHOT up to THE SEVENTH SHOT. Roughly 41% of Americans received TWO SHOTS; and another roughly 21% of Americans received three or more shots. Those percentages keep being repeated.
    SO IS THERE A POINT TO THIS? Yes. UNTIL PROVEN OTHERWISE THE SPIKE PROTEIN IS PERMANENT IN THE BODY. It scratches the inner slippery lining of all vessels (blood), but also all body tubes (throat , stomach, intestines and more). The Spike Protein loves the heart, lungs, liver, spleen and reproductive organs in both males and females. At the very least, by Two shots it has disabled Immunoglobulin-4 (=antibodies) #4–the Quarterback, so to speak, who calls the plays for the rest of the antibodies. IgG-4 has been swamped (it is not dead), but has given up trying to fight the estimated 8.5 trillion to 12 trillion Spike Proteins that were designed to FOOL “MOTHER NATURE” (you might recall the old TV commercial–IT IS NOT NICE TO TRY TO FOOL MOTHER NATURE).
    When the spike protein has free roam inside the body it produces fast-developing multiple simultaneous cancers, referred to as “Turbo Cancers”, and sufficient to kill somebody in as quickly as two months. But it also causes heart attacks, strokes, neurological diseases, and then at least 97 other fairly rare diseases, some that are becoming common, though still unusual, like ALS.
    So to answer your question, a very large group of people “felt fine” in 2021 after taking their first two to three shots (but the group is diminishing in size with a lot of them being dead already). NO I DON”T LIKE SAYING THIS. NO, I AM NOT A HAPPY CAMPER.
    Originally Trump said, “This is a flu; it is not something to worry about (and yes, people do die from the flu)”. Trump didn’t create Covid-Pfizer nor Covid-Bio-N-Tech (Bill Gates at least early on, owned 52% of the shares of that company. Trump didn’t create Covid-Moderna. And he also didn’t literally “stick a needle in anybody’s arm”. While Biden also didn’t stick a needle in anybody’s arm; a lot of people would disagree with me for how forcefully he pushed EVERY AMERICAN TO TAKE THOSE SHOTS. I don’t recall Trump ever doing that. When he got Covid (there was no Covid-Pfizer yet, nor its immediate family). He took safer remedies; and they worked for him AND AT HIS AGE—HE IS OLDER THAN ME; and I am still, so far, getting there. There can be a lot of “wear and tear” that accompanies health when you surpass age 70.
    I don’t have any advice; but if I have to believe what I just said (and I do believe it)–I would never take two to three or more of those shots and plan to Bug-Out Anywhere. I’d be a “bug-indoors person”, because you can’t run far and you can’t help anyone when you are weak from Covid shots; and/or the multiple cancers that seem to arise from nowhere. So don’t bother with that. Instead, go to Front Line Covid-19, Critical Care (FLCCC) Associate (MD Doctors, online); and follow their protocols to do the best you can do for yourself.
    The only thing that remains 100% certain (UNTIL PROVEN OTHERWISE, which is not happening, at least not yet) is that the death rate in USA (beyond the average normal death rate from all causes over the past decades); and the most populated countries in the world keeps climbing ten out of every 12 months (excepting the “best” Spring and Fall months of any year (which then depends on whether you live in a Northern State or a Southern State, or in the Tropics, etc.
    Since there is no cure for Covid-Pfizer, Covid-Bio-N=Tech, nor Covid-Moderna one’s status of health is going to be based on the health they had before taking shots and whatever health-supplements and diet they eat. In the mean time the reader has to ask oneself, where are these forest fires coming from? (that tracks earthquakes with Satellites that can zoom in close or far, found the recent batch of Canadian forest fires downwind from oil drilling sites…sort of implying maybe that what is coming out of the ground may be weak now; and they may need to move 75 miles eastward to set up new drilling site, but those damn trees are in the way. Get it???
    My over 50-years wife, son (age 45, and grandson all took at least two shots). Are they doing fine? Not exactly, my wife’s prior diseases are more debilitating for her now; and that could have happened anyway at her age. My son had heart palpitations at a soccer game coaching his son–it scared the crap out of him. Then one time in a telephone call on phone speaker I overheard him telling his mom that there is something wrong with his legs, it seems like the blood is not moving when he is sitting. “A MidWest Doctor–The Forgotten Side of Medicine” (on–a private server, where MDs talked to MDs until nurses and specialists wanted in; and eventually everyone was allowed inside refers to the blood stuck in lower legs as “blood stasis”; it means red blood cells are deformed [permanently] and so they can’t travel like they used to before the shots that caused it (at least most of it). There are sophisticated modern pictures online of many kinds of problems that will not self-correct; but they only got noticed after the Covid Pfizer-shot rolled out around Spring 2021. There are MD’s online reporting regularly about what helps can be helpful–and at least to buy time (from going to one’s grave). My opinion: God alone knows when one’s time is up–no matter what shots or drugs or preferential poisons one may have taken (cigs, booze, etc.). But until we find out what God already knows, it would be best to get smart fast and take food based nutrients in doses that “respectful MD’s” recommend. Now, where are those respectful MD’s? They may be local, especially if they are near retirement. They will likely not be easily found in Clinics that are supporting Hospital Systems (who do you think pushed the accursed shots left and right, besides mainline news, politicians, etc.).
    Bill, its OK to tell people to stockpile Medical drugs they take. But it won’t do much good if your audience has taken two or more Covid-Pfizer, Moderna or Bio-N-Tech shots (that in rounded figures is about 60% of the American population). Already in USA there is a statistical death rate referred to as the “All causes of all Deaths rate” in America. Group Life Insurers (for businesses—with younger people) are going crazy with multiple death benefit claims SINCE SPRING 2021, but noticed as a trend in 2022. USA has already surpassed 1,000,000 EXCESS deaths of people at all ages, even children and babies.
    The original Covid-19–that pre-vaccine Wuhan Disease IS DIFFERENT THAN THE COVID-SHOTS DISEASE. Covid-19 vanished, but variants were left growing inside the Vaccinated. Covid-Pfizer does not vanish; nor does Covid-Moderna; nor Covid-Bio-N-Tech. God help us all–because though I am not vaccinated, I really don’t want to have to bury my wife and youngest son and grandson. So, God help us all! And what is left with no God?

  • There’s a adage that goes around in medical circles; “Diabetes runs in the family because no one runs in the family.” In a SHTF scenario people are going to die; the sick will probably go first. That being said, many people will benefit from the increased physical labor and lower calorie/fat intake that will come with SHTF. Obesity will go away naturally for the most part, and will take many of the medical conditions it spawns with it. In general, most people who survive a few months into a SHTF scenario will be healthier. There WILL be HUGE uptick in physical injuries as people attempt to do things they’ve never done before. Chopping wood comes to mind. There will be no emergency rooms. Plan ahead for that!

    You mention that stockpiling drugs merely “postpones the inevitable.” Indeed, isn’t that what MOST medical practices and most medications do? Fact is, the S may HTF, but it may not last as long as people think. Even if stockpiling drugs “postpones the inevitable,” what wouldn’t most people give for an extra year of life? If you NEED daily meds and CAN stock up, then DO IT! For the record, I read “One Second After.” The main character KNEW his daughter had a “damned aggressive form of diabetes.” WHY didn’t he think of what would happen if the lights went out or if there was a disruption in the “supply chain?” His issue was not only that insulin was in short supply, but that it needed to be refrigerated. Refrigeration can be handled to some extent by an “electric cooler;” the kind that runs on 12VDC. WHY didn’t he have one of those? If YOU are reliant on a med requiring refrigeration WHY DON’T YOU? Run it on a deep cycle battery connected to a solar charger. If you have more cash to throw around or own an RV or travel trailer, REMEMBER that RV fridge/freezers will RUN ON PROPANE!!! If you own an RV or trailer, the solution to your refrigeration problem is already in front of you. Just be sure you keep your tanks full. You might even think of getting SEVERAL extra tanks or a “hundred-pounder.” If you don’t have a propane fridge, you can buy one, though they’re expensive. There are “built-in” models made for RV’s and stand-alone models made for off-grid cabin use. An RV fridge will work outside an RV. It’ll look ugly, but it’ll work! Just level it off and fire it up!

    Humanity got to where it’s at on the backs of people who had NO MEDICINE AT ALL over the course of thousands of years! MANY will survive. Let’s do what we can to be one of the many…

    • The concept in one second after was what would happen to all the people ( 97% of the world ) if an EMP hit not what would preppers do. As a diabetic I have a small cooler that would run on 12 volt and another small solar charger to keep up a battery. Now I don’t take insulin anymore so that point is mute .

  • Great comments from people with experience–it is refreshing. As a rule (despite an occasional exception) you all offered great advice. . Good for you and good for everyone.

    • Indeed, I get that. But if you or one of yours needs a life-sustaining med that requires refrigeration, you don’t need to be a prepper to be thinking “How do I keep this stuff cold if the lights go out?”

      • Well, that didn’t land where it was supposed to… I was trying to reply to “Poorman…”