How Can Heat Affect Blood Sugar Levels – Stay Safe in the Sun
Changes in seasons do affect not only our mood but our overall health. In case we have diabetes, we should pay attention to these drastic changes in temperatures because they can alter our blood sugar levels.
How Can Heat Affect Us?
Heat does not directly affect our blood sugar levels but the release of hormones and metabolism. In fact, it affects our circulation, the activities we perform and the food we consume.
All of these factors can lead to dehydration and blood sugar fluctuations. When we sweat profusely, we dehydrate and thus raise the glucose levels. If we use insulin, dehydration reduces our 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.
Do not disregard tiredness and sweating due to hot weather since they can be potential signs of hypoglycemia. Also, we should test our blood glucose more often in order to prevent this condition.
Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion
According to NHS, people with this chronic disease 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
We 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, we should check our blood glucose levels in a cool place and make sure our test strips are stored away from direct sunlight.
Adjust 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 we 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 this chronic disease 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 Habits
The hot temperatures usually change our patterns of eating, exercise and hours spent in the sun. These changes significantly affect our blood sugar level.
- Eating. The extreme heat affects our diet, and we tend to eat less or combine different foods, thus affecting our blood sugar levels.
- Exercise. During the summer, we tend to limit our physical activity, and this can significantly influence our 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 Blood Sugar Levels
First and a very important thing to point out is that hot weather shouldn’t keep us indoors. All of us should take part in many outdoor activities as long as we follow these precautions:
1. Adjust Insulin as Needed
Before we involve in some exercise, we should consult our doctor how we should adjust our insulin. The very first visits may be focused primarily on urgent issues, but this will help us keep our condition under control.
2. Drink Lots of Water
Hydration is of utmost importance for people who would like to engage in some physical activity. So, we should always carry some bottle of water or a sports drink while performing some sport.
3. Having Some Snack with Us
Snack is an important meal replacement that will prevent low blood sugars. We may consult our nutritionist for the best possible options.
4. Check 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, we 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 Supplies and Medications
Before we go outdoors, we should make sure we protect our insulin and other supplies. It is highly important that we keep the insulin pump away from high temperature.
6. Keeping the Items for Low Blood Sugar with Us
If we have a higher risk of low blood sugar, we better keep the glucose tabs or glucose gel at hand.
7. Avoid Sunburn
We can easily get sunburned, so we should pay attention when exposing to high temperatures. Sunburn can not only harm our skin but it can also stress the body and raise the blood sugar levels. We should always have some protective eyeglasses and a broad-spectrum sunscreen with us.
If we follow these precautions, we can enjoy any activity regardless of the weather seasons.