How to keep cool and healthy in the summer months.
The heat is here for summer and it’s time to be mindful with the weather warming up. If you have diabetes, you know your blood sugar levels can get too high at times. This can be dangerous, especially in hot weather since heat can make it harder for your body to control your blood sugar levels.
This is because heat can cause you to sweat more, which can lead to dehydration. Also, with sweat loss there is a decrease in the level of water in your bloodstream which can cause a decrease in the effectiveness of insulin. Due to both of these factors, dehydration can make your blood sugar levels go up.
In addition, heat can also make your insulin less effective. Insulin is a hormone that helps your body use glucose for energy. Without insulin working properly, your blood sugars can rise.
Here are some tips to help you stay safe while having fun in the sun:
- Drink plenty of fluids, even if you are not thirsty. Bring a water bottle with you wherever you go even if it’s a short trip.
- Stay in the shade as much as possible. You can bring your own shade if you want such as a large brim hat.
- Avoid alcohol and drinks with caffeine (i.e., energy drinks), as these can dehydrate you.
- Check your blood sugar levels often if you are prescribed to check daily.
- Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid tight fitting and dark, non-breathable clothing.
- Avoid extreme activity in hot weather. Try to move up exercise you would do outside to early mornings or evenings when it’s cooler.
If you have any concerns about managing your diabetes in hot weather, don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor or health care practitioner.
Here are some additional things to know about heat and diabetes:
- People with diabetes are more likely to develop heat exhaustion and heat stroke. These are both serious medical conditions that can be life-threatening. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include: tiredness, dizziness, headache, feeling sick, excessive or absence of sweating, cramping, rapid breathing or fast heartbeat.
- If you have diabetes and you think you are experiencing heat exhaustion or heat stroke, call 911 immediately.
- There are a number of things you can do to help prevent heat exhaustion and heat stroke, such as drinking plenty of fluids, staying in the shade, and avoiding strenuous exercise in hot and humid weather.
If you have diabetes, it is important to be aware of the risks of heat and take steps to stay safe. By following these tips, you can help prevent complications and enjoy the summer safely.
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