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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat



    Police should take effect of diabetes on drivers into account

    Although driving under the influence to the slightest degree is despicable and ought to be punished to the full extent of the law, anyone who claims to be showing symptoms of drunkenness as a result of diabetes must be evaluated immediately.

    Alcohol can be deadly when ingested by a diabetic. The high levels of sugar in many alcoholic beverages can raise blood sugar to a dangerously high level resulting in metabolic acidosis. The symptoms of this diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) are exhalation of various chemicals that can show false positives on Breathalyzers as well as a fruity smell similar to “”drunk breath.”” As the alcohol is metabolized in the liver, sugar can no longer be freed to power your body and sugar levels can drop dangerously, causing extreme incoherence and brain damage.

    Although alcohol can exacerbate the symptoms, a diabetic who is under poor control (and not drinking) can appear drunk to a casual observer, even a policeman armed with a Breathalyzer. Even if the man reported to be driving under the influence was lying through his teeth about having the disease, his claim is enough for immediate evaluation at the emergency department, as either condition is extremely dangerous.

    The fact that the police failed to pursue a simple finger stick to test sugar levels makes me afraid to be a diabetic around the police.

    Michael Dugger
    physiology junior

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