Dangers of Driving with Diabetes
I’m Ed Smith, a Folsom Personal Injury Lawyer. Despite all of the advances made in the field of medicine, obesity and diabetes continue to persist as some of modern society’s greatest challenges. Diabetes has the potential to cause numerous complications that can add a significant amount of stress to families everywhere.
There are two types of diabetes. Type I is an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. The pancreas is located in the abdominal area, near the liver and spleen. It is unclear exactly what causes the body’s immune system to attack the pancreas. However, the cause may vary from patient to patient. On the other hand, type II diabetes is a form of diabetes that develops over time. While some people may be more susceptible to this form of diabetes for genetic reasons, this likely develops as a consequence of consuming too much sugar. The insulin-producing cells of the pancreas will burn out and be unable to produce any more insulin. This can cause the body’s blood sugar levels to climb. When someone has diabetes, there are several symptoms that people should watch out for that could predispose them to develop traumatic injuries in accidents, including:
- Hyperglycemia: Hyperglycemia is the medical term for high blood sugar. When this happens, this can cause people to fall into a state of shock and altered mental status called diabetic ketoacidosis. If this is not quickly addressed, the condition could potentially be fatal.
- Hypoglycemia: Hypoglycemia, on the other hand, is the medical term for low blood sugar. This can happen if someone who is taking insulin as a form of treatment for diabetes, takes too much of the medication. The blood sugar levels could plummet, potentially causing seizures. If someone is operating heavy machinery, he or she could cause a catastrophic personal injury.
Why Does it Matter for Driving?
When someone has diabetes, it is easy for his or her blood sugar levels to fluctuate. This is why strict control of glucose levels is paramount when someone has diabetes. When it comes to driving, hypoglycemia can drastically impair someone’s ability to focus on the road.
- Hypoglycemia: This is one of the biggest side effects of diabetes treatment. While it seems counterintuitive that someone could develop low blood sugar with diabetes, insulin and other medications do have the potential to cause low blood sugar. Numerous research papers have highlighted the risk of auto accidents that might occur when someone has low blood sugar. If people have a seizure behind the wheel due to low blood sugar levels, they will lose control of their vehicle and could cause a wrongful death.
- Visual Impairment: People with diabetes who have poor control over their glucose levels could develop something called diabetic retinopathy. In this condition, the retina starts to fade, leading to difficulty with vision.
- Peripheral Neuropathy: Diabetic neuropathy is also of serious concern when someone has this medical condition. In diabetic neuropathy, people may start to lose feeling in their hands and toes. Without the ability to feel what is going on around them, they could have trouble making fine adjustments or taking evasive action with the wheel and the pedals of the car. This creates a dangerous situation for everyone.
Watch YouTube Video: Driving with Diabetes. This short educational video explains how the sides effects of diabetes can make driving difficult.
What Should be Done in the Future?
In order to prevent these dangerous situations from happening, there are a number of important points that this paper made. First, people with diabetes need to maintain strict control over their blood sugar levels. This will prevent hypo and hyperglycemia from occurring and avoid some of the complications that come with it. Next, if someone has a history of multiple episodes of hypoglycemia, this could imply poor blood sugar control and, perhaps, they should not be driving.
Crashes Involving Those Suffering a Blood Sugar Event
Those who have been injured in an accident involving someone with diabetes should consider contacting an experienced Folsom Injury lawyer to find out if negligence has occurred. If you have been involved in a crash with someone who had a blood sugar event, you may be entitled to recover damages for your injuries, property damage and other expenses.
Folsom Personal Injury & Car Accident Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a Folsom Personal Injury Lawyer. Diabetes can impact someone’s driving ability and potentially lead to a car accident. If you or a loved one has been injured in a crash involving someone with diabetes, call me for free, friendly advice at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400.
I am a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum of the greater California.
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Photo by Zach Meaney on Unsplash
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