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Diabetes Patients Report Many Hypoglycemic Driving Events

Last Updated: December 14, 2009.


More than half report at least one hypoglycemia-related event while driving during 12 months

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Hypoglycemia-related events while driving may be common in individuals with type 1 diabetes, according to research published in the December issue of Diabetes Care.

MONDAY, Dec. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Hypoglycemia-related events while driving may be common in individuals with type 1 diabetes, according to research published in the December issue of Diabetes Care.

Daniel J. Cox, Ph.D., of the University of Virginia Health Sciences Center in Charlottesville, and colleagues analyzed data from 452 drivers (mean age, 42 years) who reported any occurrence of seven types of hypoglycemia-related driving "mishaps" on a monthly basis for a year. These included arriving at a destination without remembering the drive and striking something with their vehicle due to hypoglycemia.

During the 12 months, the researchers note that 52 percent of drivers reported at least one of these mishaps, and 5 percent reported six or more. Factors associated with a higher risk of events included use of an insulin pump, history of collision in the previous two years for any cause, and hypoglycemia-related driving mishaps in the previous two years.

"It would be prudent to routinely query patients about recent experiences concerning hypoglycemia and driving mishaps. If such events have occurred, steps to avoid hypoglycemia while driving should be encouraged, such as measuring blood glucose before driving, encouraging a higher blood glucose threshold for when not to begin driving (e.g., greater than 90 mg/dL), and, when hypoglycemia is detected while driving, safely ceasing driving, eating fast-acting carbohydrates, and not resuming driving until blood glucose and cognitive-motor functioning have recovered," the authors write.

The study was supported by LifeScan.

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