Beat the Heat: Diabetes and the Dangers of Hot Weather

Heat advisories aren’t just for beachgoers.

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As the summer months approach, you might begin to feel beads of sweat dotting your hairline or a lone trickle of moisture fall down your back after a steady-paced walk. Although growing warm and sweating are not problematic in and of themselves, excess heat exposure can be particularly dangerous for diabetics.

Overheating With Diabetes

Overheating on its own can be dangerous. When you overheat, your body does not properly cool itself, which can lead to dehydration, exhaustion, and even a loss of consciousness, depending on the severity of the case. Unfortunately, men and women with diabetes experience overheating on a larger scale and are far more prone to both overheating in general and the other symptoms that accompany it.

Because diabetes patients grow dehydrated more quickly than the general population, keeping on top of fluid intake in warm weather is absolutely crucial. The same can also be said of avoiding heat. If you know you are going to be in the heat, you need to make sure you have all of your medication and know the points at which your medication begins to go bad.

Preparing for the Heat

Preparing for the heat is not a simple matter of making sure you drink enough water; instead, as a person with diabetes, you have to think ahead:

  • How you will store your medication?
  • Does your medication have a low heat point?
  • How will you take your blood sugar readings in the heat (heat can interfere with accuracy)
  • How will you manage your liquid and solid intake?

Consult with your doctor to find out what temperatures are safe for your medication and your testing equipment. Some equipment and medications are created to work in high or lower temperatures while others are sensitive to extreme temperature on either side of the spectrum.




Eat and drink as you normally would but keep a water bottle and snack with you at all times, and try to drink an additional couple of ounces every 15-20 minutes you are out in the heat. Pay attention to any symptoms such as feeling faint and use the snacks you’ve prepared.

Protect Yourself

Although a heat wave does not have to be a recipe for disaster, it can spell “danger” for individuals with diabetes far more than those without. Thankfully, with the proper amount of preparation and self-care, you can beat the heat and maintain a strong, healthy diabetes management regimen in the hot summer months.

References

Web MD. Accessed 6/12/17.
CDC. Accessed 6/12/17.

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