This summer has seen unprecedented highs in temperature, and while everyone is feeling the effects of the heat, those with diabetes are especially at risk. For anyone who struggles with diabetes, it is important to be wary of the heat.
Diabetes and extreme heat is a dangerous combination. Heat and moderate to high physical activity can cause profuse sweating which can lead to a rise in glucose levels. Individuals with both type 1 and 2 diabetes tend to feel the heat more than those who do not have diabetes. Here’s why:
- Diabetes can cause complications such as damage to blood vessels and nerves, which can in turn affect your sweat glands, so the body is not able to cool as effectively. Medical emergencies like heat exhaustion and heatstroke may follow.
- In high heat, people with diabetes are more likely to become dehydrated more quickly. Not consuming enough liquids can cause blood glucose levels to rise, and high blood glucose causes frequent urination, which leads to dehydration.
- The way your body uses insulin can be affected by high temperatures. This may mean you need to test your blood glucose more often, adjust your insulin dose, and monitor what you eat and drink.
Whether or not you have diabetes, there are some helpful tips for enjoying the summer heat safely.
- To avoid dehydration, drink lots of water.
- Avoid caffeinated and alcoholic drinks. They can lead to water loss and spike blood sugar levels.
- Before, during, and after activity, make sure to check your blood sugar. There may need to be an adjustment to the amount of insulin you use.
- Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
- Always wear sunscreen when outside. Sunburn may raise your blood sugar levels.
- Try to stay in air-conditioned buildings and rooms.
Protect Your Diabetes Equipment
While taking care of yourself in the summer heat is the priority, your diabetes medications, supplies, and equipment need the same level of care.
- Do not keep insulin or oral diabetes medicine in direct sunlight or a hot car. Look over the packaging information to determine how high temperatures can affect insulin or other medications.
- If there is traveling, keep insulin and other medicines in a cooler. You do not want to put insulin directly on ice or a gel pack.
- Heat can damage your blood sugar monitor, insulin pump, and other diabetes equipment. Try to avoid leaving them in a hot car, by a pool, in direct sunlight, etc. Supplies, such as test strips, should be handled with the same caution.
Health Insurance Questions?
We hope this information on having diabetes in extreme heat is helpful.
Empower Brokerage wants to help you understand the insurance coverage you need and how to save money getting it. Stay on top of your health and give us a call at (844) 410-1320.
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