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From Butte, Montana, USA:

My nephew recently passed out while driving his car due to high blood sugar. He continues to eat candy and cookies and has again passed out this time at work. What can I due after he wakes up from passing out to get his blood sugar down to normal? Do I give him juice or carbs or what? I am very concerned and want to help.


It is not very common to "pass out" from high blood glucose, at least not without more warning such as recurring vomiting, dehydration, ketones in the urine and the beginnings of DKA [diabetic ketoacidosis]. On the contrary, passing out from low blood glucose could occur with little warning. It is low blood sugar that is treated, when possible by eating/drinking a rapid acting sugar and following up with complex carbohydrates and protein. How much to take will best be estimated by the diabetes team. If someone has "passed out" or is having a convulsion from low glucose, then that may need to be treated by a shot of the hormone called glucagon, a hormone that usually quickly leads to a rapid increase in the blood glucose level. Your nephew should check his glucose before he drives and have some fast-acting sugar available in his car.

I think your nephew and the rest of the family should be quite aware that not only is he putting himself at risk while driving if his glucoses are not great, but he certainly puts, you, me, neighbors, children, strangers, pets, and all other folks at danger if he drives without some expectation of glucose regulation. You owe it to everyone to call the police. His insurance rates will skyrocket as well. Lots of folks with diabetes drive and drive well, but precautions should be taken. Next, it would behoove you and your nephew most certainly, to take a diabetes education class. Most probably, your local hospital or diabetes center offers one.

In addition, I would not let him drive until this issue is addressed. Please contact his diabetes physician and education team for him and yourself, (and the rest us!) and warn the authorities that he is a reckless driver. His physicians may be able to do tests to help determine if something else is leading to his change in level of consciousness. Also, I would advise that you consider asking legal advice from an attorney to learn of his liabilities when it is known that he has passed out while driving.


Original posting 11 Nov 2002
Posted to Hyperglycemia and DKA


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:38
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