The soaring temperatures experienced in many parts of the country is tough enough for the average person, but perhaps more so for people with diabetes. “People with chronic diseases like diabetes as well as people taking certain medications, including heart disease medications and diuretics, which are often used to treat complications of diabetes, are at increased risk of experiencing difficulties in the heat, even though they may not be aware of it,” says Catherine Carver, Director of Educational Services at Joslin Clinic, USA.
Here are for people with diabetes during these steamy summer days:
Keep hydrated. Dehydration, or the loss of body fluids, can happen on these very hot summer days whether you have diabetes or not. If you have diabetes, dehydration also can occur when blood glucose is not under control. When blood glucose is elevated, it can lead to an increase in the body’s excretion of urine. To prevent dehydration drink plenty of caffeine-free fluids such as water, and sugar-free iced tea and lemonade. Limit intake of alcohol.
Watch for signs of heat exhaustion, especially if you are working or exercising outdoors. People with diabetes and other chronic diseases like heart disease are more susceptible to overheating. Symptoms include: feeling dizzy or fainting; sweating excessively; muscle cramps; skin that is cold or clammy; headaches; rapid heartbeat and/or nausea. If you experience any of these symptoms, move to a cooler environment, drink fluids like water, juice or replenishing sports drinks. If the conditions persist, do seek medical attention.
Exercise in a cool place such as an air-conditioned gym, or early in the morning or later in the evening when temperatures may be more moderate. Check blood glucose levels at least four times per day, and more often if you are not feeling well. Remember that heat can cause blood glucose levels to fluctuate. Carry plenty of water and snacks.
Store your blood glucose meter, strips and insulin or any alternative medicine capsules in a cool, dry place. If you have diabetes and have any questions about coping with heat or other extreme weather conditions, consult with your medical practitioner.