HEALTH CENTER

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Stay Healthy in the Heat by Joyla Shanklin

Joyla (425x640)The heat can reach blazing temperatures during the summer. These temperatures affect many different health issues, one of them being your blood sugar. According to research, when it is hot outside, it is more likely for those with diabetes to end up in the emergency room with heat-related illnesses. The extreme weather disorients the body and hinders the successful production of insulin. Despite these negatives, someone with diabetes does not have to give the weather the upper hand, just read the following tips on how to stay ahead of the heat.

Drink plenty of water as the heat increases since you’re more likely to get dehydrated. Dehydration increases the levels of blood sugar in the blood system. When this occurs, less blood flows through the kidneys and the kidneys need blood to work efficiently. So don’t wait until you are parched to fill up on fluids!

Did you know that high summer temperatures can affect your medications, glucose meter, and diabetes strips? With extreme heat, it is common for insulin and other drugs to become degraded and lose potency. No meds should be exposed to temperatures higher than 86 degrees. Bring your medications with you while traveling and try to keep them in a cool, dry place.

It is crucial that those with diabetes stay out of the heat. An important part of diabetes management is to exercise to keep blood sugar under control.  To avoid heat stroke or worse, it is recommended to exercise early in the morning, after the sun sets, or in an air conditioned gym. Type 1 and 2 diabetics are more susceptible to develop problems concerning their feet. During the summer, be mindful of how you treat your feet; it is unwise to go barefoot. Try to wear comfy shoes that fit well and do not expose the majority of your foot to potential cuts, scrapes, or wounds. Be sure to monitor the condition of your feet by the end of every day.

Recognize the signs of low blood sugar. Symptoms of heat exhaustion can be similar to that of hypoglycemia, a term used to describe low blood sugar. Some of the symptoms include: sweating, light-headed, shakiness, or confusion. Be sure to test your levels frequently to recognize if your blood sugar levels have dropped or if you need to add insulin to your diet. Keep a carbohydrate snack with you if you need to raise your blood sugar levels. Always be careful not to confuse symptoms of sugar conditions with those of the heat.

All of this advice is a way for us to aid you in awareness of your body’s response to the heightening summer temperatures.   I wish you an enjoyable summer with these helpful tips on beating the heat!

The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.