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Medical Conditions That Can Impact Your Blood Alcohol Level

Whenever you decide to drink, it's important to drink responsibly. If you don't have a designated driver, you may choose to limit your alcohol intake to one or two drinks. In some cases, however, even one drink can cause your blood alcohol level to rise above the minimum legal limit. Certain medical conditions can make driving after drinking any alcohol dangerous. Here are three medical conditions you need to know about before you have a glass of wine with dinner or a drink with friends.

Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgery is a popular way to lose weight and keep it off, but this procedure fundamentally changes your body's metabolism. This includes how your body metabolizes alcoholic beverages. The changes made to the stomach and intestinal track as a result of this surgery prevent the body from beginning to break down the alcohol before it enters your blood stream. Consuming just one drink could place you above the legal .08 blood alcohol level, putting you at risk for a DUI.


People with diabetes can be charged with a DUI even if they haven't been drinking. If you begin to suffer from low glucose levels, or hyperglycemia, while driving, you may have a difficult time operating your vehicle, which could cause law enforcement to believe you are driving while intoxicated. The symptoms of low glucose levels in the body mirror those of an intoxicated person. These symptoms include:

  • Dizziness or loss of balance
  • Slurred speech
  • Confusion
  • Lack of coordination

If given a field sobriety test, a diabetic person may end up with a DUI arrest instead of proper medical treatment. This problem is compounded by the fact that breathalyzers can provide a false positive for diabetics. One of the results of hyperglycemia is ketoacidosis, which causes the body to produce acetone. Acetone is a member of the methyl group. During a breathalyzer test, the acetone can be mistaken for alcohol. If you are arrested while experiencing hyperglycemia, be sure to call a DUI attorney right away to help mount your defense.

If you have undergone bariatric surgery, be sure to have a designated driver with you any time you plan on consuming even one drink. For diabetics, a medical alert bracelet can help you convey to law enforcement that you have a medical condition so you can receive proper medical treatment instead of a night in jail. Make sure you contact a DUI attorney like those at the Jack Weatherill Law Offices in either situation to help you fight any charges you've been presented with, and always drink responsibly.