Accidents & Low Blood Sugar

Many transport accidents, indeed many accidents in general, are caused by a medical condition that either prevents or restricts the body from performing normal functions of motor skills, reasoning, thinking etc which ultimately in the case of transport lead to loss of control of a vehicle which may lead to a crash.

Road traffic accidents involving all types of vehicles, including motorcycles have a significant proportion attributed to a low blood sugar level.

In basic terms; Hypoglycemia occurs when the actual blood sugar levels in the body fall below a certain point and Diabetes is a condition in which the body cannot control the level of sugars either because the body does not produce insulin or not enough, which leads to too much sugar in the blood known as; Hyperglycemia. More information is located at any reputable diabetes website, e.g. www.diabetes.co.uk

Some common symptoms of Hypoglycemia:

Being pale, feeling weak, feeling hungry, a higher heart rate than usual, blurred vision, temporary loss of consciousness, confusion, convulsions, and even coma (in serious cases).

Treatment for this can range from eating or drinking sweet items, taking glucose tablets or being treated by medics with glucagon etc. Regular testing is required to keep on top of this condition.

Some common symptoms of Hyperglycemia:

Regular/above-average urination, Weakness or feeling tired, Loss of weight, Increased thirst, Vision blurring.

Treatment for this is usually by medication, insulin and strict dietary control and regular testing.

These conditions, regarding road accidents, are probably categorised as ‘known medical conditions’ which may cause either physical or mental impairment to drive. Many accidents are caused when people accidentally mismanage their condition which causes the incident.

Many accidents occur which are probably categorised as ‘life style’ which affect all road users and especially motorcyclists who rely so much on the body senses and balance to ride their bikes.

One of the preliminary questions medics often ask a patient is: “When did you last eat?” This starts the information gathering process which starts to build up a picture of what may have caused an accident, especially if the patient has minor injuries and is somewhat coherent. This is followed shortly afterwards by a quick blood sugar test to see what the levels are.

Many accidents are with patients that either are not aware of a pre existing condition or who have developed a low blood sugar level over a recent period.

There have been countless occasions whereby a patient has not eaten for a long time; has missed an evening meal the night previous, has skipped breakfast and by mid afternoon the body is starting to feel the effects of low blood sugar levels which ultimately limit the amount of energy the body can use. This starts the downward spiral and some of the early symptoms become prevalent.

Notable early effects are diminished reasoning and distraction which may lead to poor decision making which again may cause an accident. 

Many of these types of accidents are where this cause will tend to go undetected and in many ways is unquantifiable or it is supposed. Even when a blood sugar test is performed the level may be on the low side of the normal range, which may lead to a conclusion that this ‘may be the cause’

The key point to remember is that anything that may interfere with reactions and decision making may ultimately lead to an accident, but obviously this is not for certain. 

Another point to consider is how many riders and drivers have knowingly ridden or driver when they have not eaten in a long time and either they have noticed that they were not performing at their best or it was not noticed. 

The main point of this article is to help a rider or driver be aware of some factors which can affect performance and develop avoidance techniques. Regular eating (All & any food types) and drinking (non alcoholic drinks) will satisfy this purpose, however if you suspect a medical condition you should seek treatment as soon as possible.

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