Wilk is a diabetes educator for the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County
(New York), and coordinator of The Diabetes Resource Coalition of Long Island.
Susan has lived with Type 1 Diabetes for over thirty years.|
The Road With Diabetes - by Susan Wilk|
diabetes? Do you think about your blood sugar levels every time you get behind
the wheel of your car?
all know why we don’t drink and drive, but if you have diabetes
and are taking medications that lower blood sugar levels do you always act just
as responsibly? Did you know that the very same cognitive
impairments caused by alcohol consumption can result from hypoglycemia (low blood
is a serious, acute and rapid onset side affect of some of the diabetes medications,
including insulin and almost a dozen of the oral medications for treatment of
Type 2 Diabetes. When a person with diabetes takes these medications, they are
at an increased risk for low blood sugar, perhaps because they did not eat enough
calories or carbohydrates, they skipped a meal or snack, or because
their activity level was higher than usual. It is only with a thorough knowledge
of the medications prescribed, daily blood glucose monitoring, and an emergency
treatment plan , that hypoglycemic episodes will be infrequent and a non -traumatic
part of living well with diabetes. Practical participation is a key to low blood
sugar prevention .
diabetes are no different than anyone else when they sit in the drivers seat.
They are real people living in the hurried up busy world juggling work and home
schedules only adding to the mix a demanding daily diabetes management schedule.
Not one of us would ever let a person under the influence of alcohol drive a vehicle
, yet people with diabetes do drive at times when their blood sugar levels are
low enough to compromise their judgment. Diabetes is certainly not a choice but
a disease by chance , and low blood sugar happens as a very real part of this
disease. Doing one ’s best to avoid hypoglycemic reactions especially
while operating a motor vehicle, is part of the ownership of
how can you prevent or prepare yourself for behind the wheel hypoglycemia?
- First learn all that
you can about the medications that have been prescribed for your treatment of
your diabetes. Ask your doctor, pharmacist, and/or diabetes team educators if
your medications can cause hypoglycemia alone or in combination with other medications
you may be taking.
about low blood sugar and its symptoms and learn about the prevention and treatment
of a low blood sugar reaction. Ask your health care provider about the specifics
and every time you put the key in the ignition, test your blood sugar before you
head for your destination. If your blood sugar is low take some carbohydrate.
Do not start the car until your blood sugar is in a normal range and you are able
to think clearly. Ask your health care provider which precise levels are best
glucose tablets in your car as well as a snack food emergency box.
A large container of glucose tabs fit perfectly into your car cup holder)
- Your blood glucose
meter should always be with you (within your reach) and not just used in the morning
when you wake up or before you go to bed. The meter is your tool to help you know
your blood glucose levels throughout your entire day.
fear food and ignore any possible low blood sugar feelings when you are on the
road. This is one of those times where it is better to be safe than sorry.
a medical alert bracelet or necklace.
into practice a good back to basic diabetes rule:
matter how stressed , how busy , how rushed or late you are for an appointment
, try to eat when you are suppose d to eat when taking diabetes medications.
those who have had diabetes a long time, you may no longer get the classic symptoms
for low blood sugar. Any “weird in the brain “ cloudiness with irrational thoughts
or just an all over unfocused and day dreaming type of feeling in your head could
be low blood sugar. Only you can train yourself to recognize your own body’s warning
cues for hypoglycemia. Testing your blood sugar when you are feeling “weird in
the brain” will help you to learn more about your own hypoglycemic warning signals.
and scary as low blood sugar can be, it probably happens to a majority of people
who have diabetes. For the majority of diabetes hypoglycemic events, the simple
sugar treatment with a snack should be what it takes to keep you on the road with
safely is your responsibility.
Want to know
more? Call The Diabetes Resource Coalition of Long Island at (631) 727- 7850 x
us about how you can receive a “Quick –Fix “ key chain to hold your glucose tablets.|
check out this website to see their key chains at www.quickfixkeychain.com.|
list of medicines and manufacturers is provided for informational purposes only
and does not expressly or implicitly constitute an endorsement of the part of
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County, The Diabetes Resource Coalition
of Long Island, or CartoonMD.com/Graden Corp.