What are the precautions for diabetes

With diabetes at the wheel

About seven percent of Germans suffer from diabetes. Although the disease is associated with restrictions in everyday life, those affected do not have to do without driving a car. TÜV SÜD explains how diabetics can get through traffic safely. Incapable of driving due to hypoglycaemia

In people with diabetes, the so-called diabetes, the blood sugar metabolism is chronically disturbed. Your body cells can only absorb and store the sugar from food to a limited extent. Those affected therefore suffer from high blood sugar levels. At the same time, there is a lack of blood sugar (glucose) as a source of energy in the body's cells. In many cases it is enough to keep a special diet. In the case of severe disorders of the blood sugar metabolism, diabetics have to inject insulin every day. The metabolic hormone brings the sugar from the blood into the body cells and inhibits the breakdown of glucose stores in the liver. Both of these cause blood sugar levels to drop.

Diabetics who inject insulin have a tendency to have hypoglycaemia. If you do too much physical exertion or skip a meal, there is too much insulin in the body. As a result, the blood sugar level drops sharply and those affected hypoglycae. Typical signs of this are palpitations or sweating. If the sugar level in the blood continues to drop, the brain is undersupplied. Visual disturbances, dizziness, headaches and speech disorders are the result. For many diabetics, there are no warning signs. The hypoglycaemia makes you unfit to drive from one moment to the next. Diabetics who inject insulin or take blood sugar-lowering medication need a doctor's certificate in order to be allowed to drive. “If the metabolism gets out of hand, this can lead to physical malfunctions that can quickly become dangerous behind the wheel. Therefore, diabetics should receive regular medical treatment. So you can be sure that your medication is correctly adjusted, ”explains Gerhard Laub, traffic expert from TÜV SÜD. To be on the safe side, always have a chocolate bar with you

In addition, certain precautionary measures ensure road safety. Diabetics should check their blood sugar level before every journey. A measuring device and a sufficient number of test strips always belong in hand luggage. In addition, the diabetic ID card must always be worn on the body. In an emergency, first-aiders and rescue workers will also know about the disease if the person concerned is unconscious.

It is also important to eat and drink enough before setting off. This is especially true for longer journeys, for example on vacation. It is best for diabetics to always have quick-acting carbohydrates such as glucose and a small supply of drinks with them in the car. On long journeys, it is advisable to pack some travel provisions such as chocolate bars or biscuits. Because a traffic jam is often not included in the travel time.

If, despite all the precautionary measures, hypoglycaemia occurs while driving, the person concerned must stop immediately. Carbohydrate-rich foods such as candy bars bring blood sugar levels back to normal. Only when the symptoms disappear can the journey continue.

Authors

07/17/2014 | Anne Jantos / TÜV SÜD