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How can diabetes look like intoxication?

On Behalf of | Apr 9, 2021 | DUI

When an officer pulls you over under the suspicion of a DUI, the officer looks for a few telltale signs of intoxication. He or she may look for slurred speech, a drowsy appearance and a lack of coordination.

Even if you do not consume alcohol, there are health conditions that can mimic intoxication symptoms. Untreated diabetes, for example, can make you appear drunk when you are not. WebMD explains many of the symptoms of diabetes.

Symptoms of diabetes

Many people do not realize that they have diabetes at first. Early signs that you may have diabetes include hunger, fatigue and persistent thirst. When you have diabetes, your body reabsorbs glucose and increases your blood sugar. Then, your kidneys cannot bring it back in and so you produce more urine and require more fluids. These fluctuating fluid levels can cause blurred vision.

Symptoms of hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia

When you have diabetes, your blood sugar can drop, leading to hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia manifests with many similar side effects as intoxication. Some of the symptoms include:

  • Confusion
  • Nervousness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Sweaty and clammy

If you are experiencing low blood sugar, you may feel tired or your lips and tongue may turn tingly.

If you have high blood sugar or hyperglycemia, on the other hand, you may experience blurry vision, hunger and fatigue. If your blood sugar becomes too high, you could experience vision loss, hallucinations and weakness on one side of your body.

In addition to confusion, blurred vision and fatigue you may also have sweet breath that smells similar to nail polish remover. This can lead officers to believe that you are intoxicated when you suffer from a medical condition.

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