Our bodies turn food into ‘fuel’. For us to use food, our bodies turn carbohydrates into blood glucose. We all need blood glucose.
Insulin is a hormone that controls the level of glucose in our blood.
For people with diabetes the body either -
- does not make insulin (type 1 diabetes)
- does not produce enough insulin (type 2 diabetes) or
- the body does not respond fully to the insulin that is produced - this is called 'insulin resistance' (type 2 diabetes)
Insulin resistance is a condition where the body produces insulin but does not use it effectively. When people have insulin resistance, glucose builds up in the blood instead of being absorbed by the cells.
Blood glucose levels (also called blood sugar levels) reflect how well diabetes is being managed and how well the plan of care (healthy eating, exercise, and medication) is working. If the blood glucose levels are consistently under control (with levels near normal), any diabetes complications may be reduced or even prevented.
Hypoglycaemia also known as a ‘hypo’, ‘low’ or ‘low blood glucose’, happens when blood glucose levels drops below normal levels.
Hyperglycaemia is high blood glucose. High blood glucose in type 2 diabetes happens when the body has too little insulin or when the body can't use insulin properly.
If you have diabetes, you need to be aware of the risks involved when you’re driving. So that you can take steps to manage them.
In some situations, you should not drive. If you have a mild hypoglycaemic episode, it is recommended that you don’t drive for at least an hour to give your brain time to recover.
If you have a severe hypoglycaemic episode (eg when you need someone else’s help to deal with it), you shouldn’t drive for 24 hours. If you have several hypoglycaemic episodes, you should talk to your doctor before you return to driving.
Note – for people who ‘drive’ for their work eg drive trucks, buses, trains and others, please consult with your healthcare professional.
BLOOD GLUCOSE LEVELS
- Normally, the human body keeps its blood glucose level very stable between 4.0 mmol/L - 7.5 mmol/L
- HbA1c (a laboratory test) 50 – 55 mmol/mol or as individually agreed with your healthcare professional
- Hypoglycaemia (hypos – low blood glucose levels) <4.0 mmol/L
- Hyperglycaemia (high blood glucose levels) > 15.0 mmol/L