Hypoglycemia can effect any age - your diet and eating
habits are of paramount importance.
Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar), Diabetes
Testing and Driving Your Car
By: Fern Kuhn, RN
Because hypoglycemia can effect your driving performance
(even modestly low blood sugar can do this), if you are at all
prone to hypoglycemia, I personally would strongly recommend
you check out your blood sugar level each time you are about to
Prior to you putting the key in the ignition, test your
blood sugar. There are some great glucometers out there, like
the Accu-Check Compact with the Accu-Check Multi-clix lancet
The Accu-Check Compact has a 17 strip drum inside so you
don't have to take any extra strips with you. The Accu-Check
Multi-clix lancet pen has a drum that automatically holds 6
lancets within the pen to use quickly and easily. Again, you
won't have to bring any lancets separately with you. If your
blood sugar is low, treat yourself to some juice or hard candy
and don't drive until your blood sugar is back to normal.
Usually 80 mg/dl and higher you should feel better. Then try
and eat a small meal, like a low fat cheese and/or turkey
Usually in 15 minutes taking 15-20 grams of Carbohydrate
(CHO) will usually bring up your blood sugar to normal range.
You can have a 4-6 ounce glass of juice, glucose tablets or 2-3
pieces of hard candy. Don't overdo it because your blood sugar
will then go sky high. If it doesn't return within normal
limits in 15 minutes, repeat the 15-20 grams of CHO and then
check your blood sugar in 15 minutes.
Usually if your blood sugar is above 80 mg/dl, you should
feel fine but sometimes going above 100 mg/dl, you'll feel
better. You should always follow with a small meal that
contains CHO, protein that contains a small amount of fat.
Always make sure you have something to eat right within
reach in the car (not in the trunk!). I tell my father to put
2-3 peppermint candy right in his pocket and have a supply of
hard candy or peppermint candy always stashed in his car.
It is best if you eat 6-8 small meals a day. This would
include a CHO, protein food that contains a little fat
included. Example would be a cheese sandwich that contains
either 1 or 2 slices of bread, a cheese that is low fat or
turkey low in fat but not fat free. The protein and fat does
help to stablize your blood sugar over a period of time instead
of a quick spike in your blood sugar and a quick drop in blood
sugar like juice would do.
During your trip if you need to take an insulin injection or
an oral blood sugar medication, then make sure you eat as
prescibed with your medication, otherwise your blood sugar can
go low. I will be writing about how insulin and certain oral
blood sugar medications can make your sugar go low. Not all
insulin, esp. Lantus, or oral diabetic medications make your
blood sugar low.
Signs of Hypoglycemia:
**Cold sweat, faintness, dizziness **Headache **Pounding of
heart, trembling, nervousness **blurred vision **hunger
**Irritability **Personality Change **Not able to awaken
Now you can also have problems driving if your blood sugar
is over 200 mg/dl. My father got in an accident because his
blood sugar was over 200, he was becoming confused and at the
same time had a Urinary Tract Infection. The police officer
told me that a diabetic's license can be revoked if an accident
is caused by diabetes. I don't know if that is true but why
risk losing your license altogether if this is the case.
If you were going to be driving for any sort of extended
time, every so often find an appropriate place to pull across
and retest your blood. When it comes to driving: if in doubt,
check out your blood sugar & eat!
About the Author
Copyright 2005 Fern Kuhn, RN Specializing in Diabetes