Summer and holidays are here and the desire to enjoy it but to keep your diabetes under control.
As winter may affect your blood glucose control, high temperatures just do the same.
There is several matters to keep in mind during hot weather regarding to blood glucose control variations, lifestyle and equipment you use to control your diabetes.
Blood glucose control variation
Heat can either increase blood glucose level when people are exposed to hot temperatures for a long time. This is why is so important to keep regular blood glucose testing and make a plan accordingly.
Physical Activity: the motivation to keep physically active in hot days is reduced and as you may know, inactivity may promote increase of blood glucose levels due to possible insulin resistance and weight gain.
Insulin absorption: On individuals taking insulin, heat can increase the insulin absorption rate on the injection sites and hypo may occur.
Do not rely on your usual symptoms only for high or low blood glucose control. Hot weather increases your thirst, sweat and urination (due to increase of fluids intake). All these symptoms are the classic symptoms of high or low blood glucose levels and can be confusing during hot weather. It is important to test your blood glucose levels regularly instead of trusting these symptoms. Make a decision of what to do next upon your blood glucose test result.
Food and hot weather: everyone is likely to eat lighter and cold type of food or loss appetite during high temperature days. It is very important that you adjust insulin doses to your diet, if this is the case. Remember that carbohydrates intake is the main cause of blood glucose level variation.
Keep Hydrated: Hydration is important at any time of the year but during hot weather is a real MUST. Fluid loss is a constant during high temperatures and that’s why it is so important to replace the uncontrolled loss by drinking plenty of fluids. Be aware of the type of fluids you drink, of course sugary drinks will always increase blood glucose levels. Opt for diluted version of your favourite drink once in a while but drink more water and non-sugary drinks.
Insulin pens that are in use should be kept on room temperature in a cool place and not in any hot surface. Remaining insulin pens should be kept in the fridge.
If blood glucose control is constantly high and you are following insulin doses as prescribed. Consider to change insulin pens as insulin may be altered by temperature and not being effective.
Look to the insulin characteristics before you use it. If any changes are noted, dispose of this insulin pen and restart another one. Under extreme heat, insulin can change its colours: clear insulins can become cloudy and cloudy insulin can change its texture inside the insulin pens and vials.
Meters and strips
Heat can change the functionality of meters and strips.
- Keep your strips in the strip pot
- Keep strips in room temperature in a cooler place
- Keep meter in room temperature in a cooler place
- Keep both strips and meter away from direct sun light
- Do not put strips and meters in the fridge as lower temperatures may as well alter its normal functionality
- In case of constant errors after testing, ask for a new meter to your healthcare professional or contact your meter company to provide you with solutions
As is already well known, foot care is very important for everyone ith diabetes.
For hot weather, is important to:
- Make sure you buy new shoes in the afternoon, when feet are wider/swollen
- Beware of walking without shoes around the house., something can get caught in your feet without you noticing.
- Check your feet regularly. Apply cream as well.
For more on feet, read the top 10 tips for foot care done by a Diabetes Specialist Podiatrist here
As you can understand, there is a lot to keep in mind when Summer time comes.
Make sure you keep mindful of your diabetes control and enjoy the weather!!
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