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Truck Drivers and the Risks of Diabetes

Truck drivers have a significantly higher risk of developing diabetes.  This can make operating such a massive vehicle even more dangerous for not only the driver, but for other drivers on the road as well.   In Georgia and the Atlanta area, where the interstates are usually packed with tractor-trailers, truck drivers driving with unmanaged diabetes can increase the risks of accidents with other drivers.

According to recent studies, truck drivers have a risk of developing diabetes that is as much as 50 percent higher than the general population.  This is due in part to the long hours truck drivers are required to log, inconsistent eating schedules, lack of regular exercise and oftentimes unhealthy food choices.

Management of diabetes symptoms can be very difficult when you are a trucker. For one thing, diabetes is a difficult disease to live with, and there is no complete cure for the condition. The only way to ensure that you continue to live a happy and healthy life with diabetes is to manage the symptoms consistently.   However, truck drivers typically drive long hours without a break. Working such long hours can mean that a truck driver is less likely to take his medication on time every day. Failure to take medications on time can cause a catastrophic increase in sugar levels, making driving an extremely hazardous activity. In addition, the food options that are typically available to a truck driver often include greasy foods or foods that are high in sugar making management of symptoms even harder.

Serious complications that are associated with diabetes can render a truck driver unsafe to drive, and may result in the driver losing his trucking license. For example, retinopathy can cause vision problems making it impossible for the person to drive. Other diabetic complications that hinder a truck driver’s ability to drive include risk of stroke seizures and numbness in the arms and legs.

There are steps that truck drivers can take to manage their condition despite their demanding schedules and irregular hours.

Talk to a health care provider to understand what best you can do in terms of food options during your work hours. If you don’t have access to healthy foods on the road, carry some healthy snacks with you. Carrying snacks can also take care of the hunger pangs that diabetics are very prone to on the road.

Carry your medication and supplies with you at all times.

Make time for some exercise during your work schedule. Even a brisk walk around the parking lot can give you the benefits of a cardio workout.

No matter how demanding your schedule, be sure to see your doctors regularly.

A truck driver’s medical health can be a factor in his ability to drive safely. When accidents are caused as a result of truck driver errors, an analysis of the drivers’ medical health will also be part of any investigation into the causes of the accident. Trucking companies also have a role to play in helping truck drivers with diabetes manage and control their symptoms. A comprehensive diabetes management program that is fully funded by the company must be standard at any company that has diabetic drivers on its rolls.