Diabetes a big concern among truckers

Today, November 14th is World Diabetes Day. It was first introduced in 1991, and founded by both the International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organization. In reaction to the rise in cases of Diabetes worldwide, it was decided to choose a day of the year to raise awareness of diabetes and related causes. The day chosen was the birthday of Sir Frederick Banting, a medical scientist who co-discovered Insulin and was the first person to use it on humans. Diabetes is a concern for many people, but it is a particularly big issue for truck drivers.

Did you know that…

  • There’s a 50% higher occurrence of diabetes in truck drivers than the national average;
  • Drivers with diabetes can apply for a medical waiver with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to allow them to operate a commercial vehicle, as long as they meet its specific criteria;
  • Yet while the use of insulin is no longer a complete barrier to being able to operate a commercial vehicle on the road, a driver must be able to prove they are maintaining stable blood sugars; not an easy task.

 

Two key facts drivers need to keep in mind concerning diabetes:
First, that there is no cure and, second, diabetes is progressive, meaning that as symptoms worsen, the disease causes more harm to your body, especially without attentive personal management.

Probably, the most immediate impact for drivers with diabetes is possibly losing their jobs. The best way to win the fight with diabetes is to learn what happens to your blood sugar and for how long when you consume certain foods. Dietary education and support is a critical part of any successful program because blood sugar levels are directly affected by food types and portion sizes.

Research has shown that once a person understands what ‘the numbers’ are they are much more likely to engage with their disease and make adjustments to their food choices and quantities. Doing so will help keep your diabetes under control, allowing you to continue working for many more years.

A driver with diabetes must learn to understand and know the actions he/she should take if he experiences a hyper- or hypoglycemic episode. He or she must self-monitor and analyze blood glucose readings, as well as develop medication management strategies, obtain regular HbA1c readings and develop action plans for improvement or maintenance.

Additionally, he must develop and implement nutrition and hydration strategies for work, and plan ahead to ensure productive clinical interactions, which normally occur four times per year.

For more information about diabetes: American Diabetes Association

There are many websites and apps to help you maintain a healthy diet and good health habits while on the road. https://www.myfitnesspal.com/