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Question:

From Canton, Massachusetts, USA:

I am concerned with hypoglycemia. My husband is 40 years old and has had Type 1 diabetes for 30 years. I am concerned for his safety and our children. In the last 5 years, he has had several car accidents and over 25 ambulance assisted emergencies. His doctor finds him in good health but his day to day management needs great improvement. What is his ability when his sugar drops so low? His awareness? Could he be a danger on the road or put our children at risk with his low blood sugar levels?

Answer:

Frequent hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) in a diabetic patient is always an emergency, and you're quite right to be concerned for his and your children safety while riding with him. Low sugar is often an effect of mismatched therapies (insulin, food, exercise) that, if not properly approached, may be felt less than usually and then may cause severe unconsciousness and convulsions.

There is a situation called hypoglycemia unawareness, which obviously is dangerous while driving a car because a bad hypo is more likely to just 'sneak up'. Usually, relaxing blood sugar control a bit for around 3 months is enough to restore normal awareness.

Ask your husband's doctor or his diabetes team who'll be able to work out with your husband changes in his therapies that should help him. A solution will no doubt be found.

MS

Additional comments from Dr. Tessa Lebinger:

It sounds like your husband is having very dangerous denial if he continues to drive even though he knows he is having low blood sugars. Before a fatal accident occurs, I would suggest that you have a very serious discussion with your husband asking him not to drive until he has these low blood sugars under control. After 30 years of diabetes, he should realize how dangerous his behavior is potentially to him, his family, and innocent bystanders. I would also suggest you strongly encourage him to see a therapist to help him deal with the seriousness of his behavior and denial.

Good luck to you and your husband.

TGL

DTQ-20000311141744
Original posting 26 May 2000
Posted to Hypoglycemia and Behavior

  
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:10
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