Changes of seasons do affect not only your mood but your overall health. In case you have diabetes, you should pay attention to these drastic changes in temperatures because they can alter your blood sugar levels.
How Can Heat Affect You?
Heat does not directly affect your blood sugar levels but the release of hormones and metabolism. In fact, it affects your circulation, the activities you perform and the food you consume.
All of these factors can lead to dehydration and blood sugar fluctuations. When you sweat profusely, you dehydrate and thus raise the glucose levels. If you use insulin, dehydration reduces your blood supply to the skin and lowers the absorption of the injected insulin.
The Risks from High Temperatures
For those people who take glucose-lowering medications, hot weather increases the risk of hypoglycemia.
According to the Joslin Diabetes Centre, the body’s metabolism is higher in humid and hot weather, and this can cause an increased risk of hypoglycemia.
Make sure you do not disregard tiredness and sweating due to hot weather since they can be potential signs of hypoglycemia. Also, test your blood glucose more often in order to prevent this condition.
Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion
According to NHS, people with diabetes have a higher risk of heat exhaustion. This condition occurs as a result of the loss of salts and water from the body.
Some of the symptoms of heat exhaustion include:
- Intensified sweating
- Clammy skin
- Cramping muscles
- Fast heartbeat
You can avoid this heat exhaustion by drinking plenty of water and avoiding direct exposure to the sun.
Hot Weather and Medicine
Diabetes supplies such as insulin should be kept in a cool place and away from direct sunlight.
Also, test strips can be affected by temperature as well. So, check your blood glucose levels in a cool place and make sure your test strips are stored away from direct sunlight.
Adjust Your Insulin Dosage
The standard temperature that insulin can tolerate is between 93-95 degrees F, but higher temperatures can affect the medication’s effectiveness. So, it is of crucial importance to pay attention to the insulin you use.
People who are physically active usually need less insulin. However, this may increase the risk of low blood sugars. So, in extreme weather conditions, people with diabetes are at risk for both high and low blood sugar.
For this reason, the patients should adjust their insulin dosage before they engage in some physical activity and they should maintain warm skin.
High Heat and Your Habits
The hot temperatures usually change your patterns of eating, exercise and hours spent in the sun. These changes significantly affect your blood sugar level.
- Eating. The extreme heat affects your diet, and you tend to eat less or combine different foods thus affecting your blood sugar levels.
- Exercise. During the summer, you tend to limit your physical activity, and this can significantly influence your glucose level.
- Protection. Most of the people tend to disregard the importance of skin protection, and usually, they get too much sun. This, in turn, leads to tissue inflammation, increased insulin resistance and higher blood sugar level.
How to Manage Your Blood Sugar Level
First and a very important thing to point out is that hot weather shouldn’t keep you indoors. All of you should take part in many outdoor activities but bear in mind to follow these precautions:
1. Adjust Your Insulin as Needed.
Before you involve into some exercise, consult your doctor how you should adjust your insulin. The very first visits may be focused primarily on urgent issues, but this will help you keep your diabetes under control.
2. Drink Lots of Water
Hydration is of utmost importance for people who would like to engage in some physical activity especially people with diabetes. So, make sure you carry some bottle of water or sports drink while performing some sport.
3. Have Some Snack with You
Snack is an important meal replacement that will prevent low blood sugars. Consult your nutritionist for the best possible options.
4. Check Your Blood Sugars Levels Frequently
The hot weather can cause fluctuations in the level of blood sugar, so it is of crucial importance to check its levels more often than usual. In this way, you will be more able to take some action if needed.
Monitoring should be practiced for a few hours after the end of the physical activity since its effect can last for longer.
5. Protect Your Supplies and Medications
Before you go outdoors, make sure you protect your insulin and other supplies. It is highly important that you keep the insulin pump away from high temperature.
6. Keep the Items for Low Blood Sugar with You
If you have a higher risk of low blood sugar, make sure you keep the glucose tabs or glucose gel at hand.
7. Avoid Sunburn
You can easily get sunburned, so pay attention when exposing to high temperatures. Sunburn not only can harm your skin but also it can stress the body and raise the blood sugar levels. Always have some protective eye glasses and broad-spectrum sunscreen with you.
If you follow these precautions, you can enjoy any activity regardless of the weather seasons