As the trucking industry continues to lure new drivers into the vocation with promises of high pay and an exciting career, the fact remains that with a pitiful average annual salary of just $38,000 and fourteen hour work days, a driver can easily work thousands of hours per year and only average a rate of just over $8.00 per hour.
Combine this with the lack of proper sleep and rest, poor choices in healthy meals availability, coupled with the overall social abnormalities of the lifestyle, it is no wonder that professional truck driving is considered by many health experts as one of the deadliest jobs in America.
As the industry focuses on the importance of moving the freight on time, drivers are pushed to grabbing high calorie, carbohydrate junk food for a quick snack, often having to eat it down while still running down the road. Thanks to the 14 hour rule, it is estimated that diabetes among truck drivers is increasing.
When one searches for a guideline to proper blood sugar levels, various charts can be found with very different ranges, leaving many in a state of confusion:
- Source 1:
Fasting = 70-110
1 hour after meal = 90-150
2 hours after meal = 80-140
3 hours after meal = 60-110
This same source also advises the following “Acceptable” ranges:
Fasting = 60-120
1 hour after meal = 80-180
2 hours after meal = 70-150
3 hours after meal = 60-130
- Source 2:
Fasting = 80-140
1 hour after meal = 100-160
2 hours after meal = Less than 180
- Source 3:
Fasting = 70-100
2 hours after meal = 70-140
This source also provides changes in the blood sugar levels, depending on your age:
2 hours after meal:
- Less than 140 (50 and younger)
- Less than 150 (50-60)
- Less than 160 (60 and older)
A well-known leading source for diabetes list the normal fasting range as 70-130 but yet, if the reading is higher than 126, then a diagnosis of diabetes is made. After 1-2 hours of a meal, they show the range to be less than 180. They continue to state that during a “random” test, if the reading is 200 or higher, then diabetes is also diagnosed.
I decided to put these charts to the test and after taking my own personal fasting reading, my sugar level showed to be 112, placing me as “in control” in the above example as well as per source two, but not “in control” per source one and three, although according to source one, the 112 reading is “acceptable.”
One hour after eating a high sugar meal, my level came in at 235 and according to the above example as in all sources, placing me as high or “not in control.” Two hours after eating, my level showed to be 127, “in control” by all above sources.
Finally, after three hours from my last meal, my blood glucose reading was 109, acceptable with all above sources . . . except by one final guideline.
Blood Glucose Levels Confusion
All of my readings, every single one, from fasting to three hours after a meal are shown to be high or “not in control” by yet another guideline provided by the American Truck Drivers Diabetes Association.
To wrap up the final results of my tests, my fasting reading failed per source one but at the same time, was “acceptable.” It also was acceptable via source two, but failed per source three and was fine with the leading source but failed with the ATDDA.
My one hour reading failed per all sources and the two and three hour readings were acceptable by all sources other than the ATDDA.
So what exactly are the normal control ranges for blood glucose levels in diabetics? According to the ATDDA, the confusion lies with the attempt to separate normal blood sugar levels between diabetics and non-diabetics.
They contend that normal glucose levels are the same for both individuals:
Fasting = 70-90
1 hour after meal = 140 or less
2 hours after meal = 120 or less
3 hours after meal = Under 100
High blood sugar levels lead to the complications in diabetics, not having diabetes itself. These complications include heart and kidney disease, stroke, neuropathy, blindness and amputation. Many of these varied guidelines are not as strict for maintaining lower blood sugar levels nor do they take into consideration the abnormal lifestyle of the professional trucker.
Following a guideline that is closer to what a diabetic’s blood sugar level should be, will greatly reduce the risks for these complications. One should be concerned with staying as close to the “normal” range as possible, with that range being outlined by the ATDDA.