June 28, 2013

Glucose Control During Driving

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2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRTDoes the stress of driving affect glucose control in people with T1 and T2 diabetes? Researchers investigated stress markers of 21 people with diabetes under the stress of a 2 hour drive training course. The results were published in Experimental  and Clinical Endocrinology & Diabetes.

The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of prolonged acute mental stress from driving on glucose control in patients with T1D and T2D. For those of us who drive and have diabetes, the answer may be unclear. However, researchers wanted to see if we have anything to worry about.

To put a number to the hypothesis, 39 patients with insulin-treated diabetes were exposed to mental stress by a 2 hour drive training course. The training session started 15 min after participants ate a meal. Blood glucose, blood pressure, heart rate, salivary cortisol, and subjective stress perception were monitored in regular intervals and compared to a control day.

On the stress testing day, blood pressure rose 20 mmHg, averaging from 142 mmHg to 162 mmHg.. Heart rate rose 6 beats per minute, averaging from 72 bpm to 86 bpm.

Subjective stress perception was 3 times greater on the day that the drive training course was given. In kind, the salivary cortisol concentrations increased, as well.

All these measurements remained stable on the control day. Of interest, glucose control showed no significant difference on the stress testing day compared to the control day.

Regardless of diabetes type, age, BMI, diabetes duration, and HbA1c – no discernible difference in glucose control could be observed in T1D or T2D participants.

It’s interesting how the perceived mental stress of driving can increase, our glucose response is more pragmatic. Our hearts may beat faster and our blood pressure may rise, but our glucose bank keeps it all in order by keeping our glucose levels in check.

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