Being a type 2 diabetic, you have to prepare for the unexpected. That means you should have your BG meter, and a vial of test strips and lancets with you on your trip. You also need to have bottled water, probably a bottle of glucose tabs, some food bars, sandwiches, a whey protein shake ,some apples, or pears, or banana's, grapes, etc. with you in a cooler in the vehicle. You also need to be aware of your BG before taking the wheel if you are sharing drive time with someone else in the vehicle. If you get stranded on the highway for an unexpected stop because of an accident, or storm, hurricane, etc. you need to have adequate food and drink to prevent you from going into insulin shock, especially if you are behind the wheel. Staying hydrated is equally important. You should have cold bottled water or ice tea within reach at all times while driving. You simply cannot start out and just plan on hitting a roadside diner, or restaurant or taking the next exit as planned. You have to prepare for the unexpected. This applies anytime you are driving any distance, and equally in the winter in case you go off the road, and help might be a while responding.
Last but not least, make sure you have your medical insurance card and information with you, along with the name and phone numbers of your diabetes doctor and the fact that you are a diabetic. It goes without saying that you should also have a cell phone that is charged with adequate minutes with you in the vehicle.
You must KNOW the warning signs of shakiness, dizziness, sweating or confusion caused by low blood sugar, and you must have the means with you to treat the low blood sugar and your test kit to check it.
Diabetic Shock and Insulin Reactions
Severe hypoglycemia, or diabetic shock, is a serious health risk for anyone withdiabetes. Also called insulin reaction, as a consequence of too much insulin, it can occur anytime there is an imbalance between the insulin in your system, the amount of food you eat, or your level of physical activity. It can even happen while you are doing all you think you can do to manage your diabetes.
The symptoms of diabetic shock may seem mild at first. But they should not be ignored. If it isn't treated quickly, hypoglycemia can become a very serious condition that causes you to faint, requiring immediate medical attention. Diabetic shock can also lead to a coma and death. It's important that not only you, but your family and others around you, learn to recognize the signs of hypoglycemia and know what to do about them. It could save your life.
What Is Hypoglycemia?
Hypoglycemia is a low level of blood sugar. The cells in your body use sugar from carbohydrates for energy. Insulin, which normally is made in the pancreas, breaks the sugar down so the cells can more easily take it in. In doing so, it helps keep the levels of sugar in the blood from getting too high.
It's important to maintain the proper level of sugar in your blood. Levels that are too high can cause severe dehydration, which can be life threatening. Over time, excess sugar in the body does serious damage to organs such as your heart, eyes, and nervous system.
Ordinarily, the production of insulin is regulated inside your body so that you naturally have the amount of insulin you need to help control the level of sugar. But if your body doesn't make its own insulin or if it can't effectively use the insulin it does produce, you need to inject insulin as a medicine or take another medicationthat will increase the amount of insulin your body does make. So if you need to medicate with insulin, it becomes your responsibility to see that you have the amount of insulin you need when you need it.
When to take insulin or another medication and how much to use depends on when, what, and how much food you eat. It also depends on your level of physical activity since the cells in your body use more sugar when you are active. Hypoglycemia is basically a reaction to too much insulin in your system. The insulin speeds up the lowering of the blood glucose level. Then without eating or with your body burning sugar faster because of physical activity, the level of sugar becomes dangerously low.
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What Causes Hypoglycemia?
Several things can cause hypoglycemia. Your blood sugar level could be low if you:
- Become more physically active than usual
- Miss a meal
- Change when or how much you normally eat
- Take your insulin or medication at a different time than usual
- Drink alcohol excessively without eating