DENVER (CBS4) – People with diabetes need to make day-to-day and often hour-to-hour decisions to manage the condition. Just one slip up can be life-threatening, especially behind the wheel of a car.
CBS4’s Alan Gionet talked to a woman who almost learned the hard way about the dangers of low blood sugar. It all happened when Erma Marshall, a Type 2 diabetes patient, was running errands. Suddenly, things were not okay.
“I had no warning that I was going to have the sugar,” Marshall said.
Her vision started getting blurry.
“It came on, I started shaking as I was driving, sweating profusely and was able to pull the car off to the side of the road,” she said.
Pulling over was the right decision.
“There was a convenience store a block to a block and a half away that I as able to walk to with blurred vision,” Marshall said. “I made it. The clerk was very kind to give me a soda and whatever it was that I needed.”
“It is not unsafe for someone who has diabetes to drive a car, they just need to protect themselves against low blood sugar,” Dr. Michael McDermott with the University of Colorado School of Medicine said.
The American Diabetes Association has special programs for new drivers to keep them safe on the road. They start with a few simple rules — always check blood glucose before getting into the car — every time — no exceptions. Stock the car with healthy snacks and keep diabetic supplies within reach. Pull over immediately if feeling sick or low while driving. Don’t leave home without a driver’s license or medical ID bracelet or necklace.
To an untrained eye, someone with low blood sugar can look drunk.
Now Marshall says she is always prepared. She monitors her glucose trends on a website called blood sugar basics.
“I’ve learned the hard way that I need to do what I need to do for me,” she said.
The American Diabetes Association needs help to continue its advocacy work and also to fund diabetes research. This weekend the American Diabetes Association is holding a major fundraiser called the Tour de Cure. The cycling event is this Saturday at the Boulder County Fairgrounds. There is still time to sign up at the American Diabetes Association website.