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July 26, 2006

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Question from Florida, USA:

I've had diabetes for 26 years, take three shots a day and check my sugar four times a day. I am looking for information about breathalyzer levels. I didn't take my shot at 5 p.m., drank four beers and registered 0.20 at 10:30 p.m. during a breathalyzer test. I told them I was a diabetic. Is there a web site that explains how diabetes can affect a breathalyzer test?

Answer:

It is very unlikely that diabetes played a role in the level on the breathalyzer test. There is a slight chance that someone can receive a false elevated level on a breathalyzer if you have ketone production. However, there are several things that make this unlikely in your case:

The four beers are enough to make your blood alcohol level high.

If you have type 2 diabetes, it would be very rare to have ketone production (normally in type 1 only)

Even if you have type 1 diabetes, missing just one injection out of three per day would not be likely to cause ketones so quickly.

Many breath analyzer tests are specific to pick up just the ethanol alcohol and will not even be effected by acetone (the alcohol associated with ketones)

There is really no information on diabetes affecting the alcohol level, outside of ketones, which seems unlikely in this case.

MN