Chapter 18: Special Situations :: Nationwide Children's Hospital

Special Situations

Travel

  • Be prepared.
  • Have extra diabetes supplies with you.
  • Store medicine where it will not be in a very hot or very cold temperature.
    • Do not store medicine inside the car or in the trunk of the car.
    • Do not put medicine in baggage that will be checked.
  • Keep diabetes supplies in their original container with the pharmacy label intact.
  • Carry a travel letter that states you have diabetes and need to carry diabetes supplies with you. We can provide you with a travel letter.
  • Have phone numbers for the endocrinology office with you.
  • Wear medical ID.

Driving

In Ohio, people with diabetes must have a form signed by their diabetes doctor that says that diabetes will not stop them from being a safe driver. The form will be given to you by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV). A low blood glucose while you are driving can be dangerous to you and to others. Your doctor will want to know you are managing your diabetes well to limit your risk of having an accident due to a low blood glucose. You will need to agree to follow safe driving practices before your diabetes doctor will sign the form.

Safe driving practices include:

  • Check blood glucose before driving.
  • If you have signs of low blood glucose while driving, pull off the road, and stop the car. Treat the low blood glucose before driving again.
  • Carry food or drink with you in your car to treat low blood glucose.
  • Wear a medical ID

Safe diabetes management includes:

  • Check blood glucose 4 times a day.
  • Keep written records.

Pregnancy and Diabetes

It is possible to have a healthy pregnancy and baby when the mother has diabetes. However, pregnancy in women with diabetes is considered high risk. A high risk obstetrician (pregnancy doctor) should be used, as there are risks to both mother and baby:

Risks to mother:

  • Large baby
  • Increased chance of C-section.
  • Chance of worsening retinopathy, if retinopathy is already present.
  • Chance of worsening kidney damage, if kidney damage is already present.

Risks to baby:

  • Birth defects if blood glucose is high during pregnancy.
    • Baby is especially at risk during the first 3 months of pregnancy.
  • Low blood glucose problems just after birth.

How to Prevent Problems with Pregnancy

  • Planned pregnancy is best.
  • Schedule an appointment with a high risk obstetrician before becoming pregnant.
  • Keep blood glucoses as close to normal as possible.
  • If you find out you are pregnant, call the endocrinology office. They can refer you to a high risk obstetrician.

Cigarette or Smokeless Tobacco Use

Smoking or using chewing tobacco can cause some of the same problems that diabetes can cause. If you do not smoke, do not start to smoke. If you do smoke, let us know so that we can help you quit.

Alcohol

Alcohol can make it hard for your body to release stored glucose. This can lead to low blood glucose. Drinking alcohol can make it harder for you to feel signs of low blood glucose, which may lead to severe low blood glucose.


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