Extreme heat of summers has potential dangers for everyone, but if you are diabetic, then you need to be extra conscious. If you have this condition, experts say you need to take special steps to keep your blood sugar at proper levels.
Experts suggest that the stress of the summer heat can increase or decrease the blood sugars among diabetics. Medical group advises patients to avoid sugary drinks like soda, lemonade and sweetened iced tea, which can elevate blood sugar levels.Always keep a bottle of water handy, whether it is in your car, at your desk or in your bag. Especially if you are going to spend considerable time outdoors during the day, then its paramount that you carry water with you.
You can add flavor to water with a squeeze of lemon or a slice of cucumber. Make a quick and easy alternative to lemonade with a splash of concentrated lemon juice and some honey
Dr. Hatipoglu from Cleveland Clinic offers these seven tips to help people with diabetes handle steamy summer days:
- Check blood glucose levels regularly. Knowing your sugar level is the best way to determine whether your insulin has gone bad or you have a malfunctioning pump. Check your blood sugar at least four times each day and more frequently if you are not feeling well.
- Exercise in air conditioning when it’s too hot. If the heat exceeds 85 degrees (29 degree Celsius), exercise indoors where there is air conditioning. Sweating and dehydration are potentially more dangerous if you are diabetic, especially if you are on insulin therapy. Exercising outside earlier in the day or later in the evening, when the temperatures are cooler, also is helpful.
- Keep your insulin cool. Insulin is a protein and can get spoilt when exposed to heat. So insulin pens or vials need protection in extreme weather, hot or cold.” If you are spending a day in the sun store your blood glucose meter, insulin and any injectable drugs for Type 2 diabetes in a cooler. Do not leave them in your closed car, where temperatures can exceed 50 degree Celsius (120 degrees F) on a hot day. If you have any doubts about your insulin, get a new bottle or fresh pen.
- Be sure your insulin pump stays cool or covered. Insulin pumps are usually safe when against the body, but if you’re going somewhere on a day when temperatures exceed 38 degrees C, be sure to cover it or use a cooling device to keep your insulin pump from malfunctioning.
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of electrolyte-balanced fluids such as fresh lime water, coconut water, etc to replace what you are losing when perspiring. Be sure to take the sugar content of drinks into account, however.
- Watch for any signs of heat exhaustion. This is especially important if you are exercising or working outside. If you feel dizzy or faint, start sweating excessively, or if you develop headaches, cold or clammy skin, muscle cramps, rapid heartbeat or nausea, move to a cooler place, drink clear fluids and seek medical attention.
- Don’t forget common sense hot weather precautions. Be sure to drink a lot of water, apply sunscreen and wear sunglasses on hot, humid days.
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