The arrival of warmer temperatures can mean a new set of concerns if you have diabetes. Even if you don’t experience any physical discomfort during hot weather, you should be aware that people with chronic conditions – and those taking medications to manage these conditions – have an increased risk of weather-related complications.
Here are three things you may not know about managing diabetes in hot weather:
1. Your supplies can be dangerously affected.
The effectiveness of your diabetes medications or insulin can be affected in warm weather. The temperatures above 80 degrees F will pose the biggest threat to your medications or testing supplies.
Humidity should also be taken into account, as conditions with over 40 percent humidity in over 80 degree heat could degrade your supplies and compromise how well they work.
Don’t store your medications or supplies in direct sunlight or in the car. Try to find a cool, dark place to put them – but avoid the freezer. You can store them in a cooler, but avoid putting them directly in contact with an ice pack.
2. You may be predisposed to heat-related conditions.
Diabetics are generally more at risk for heat-related illnesses, like dehydration or heat stroke.Diabetics have impaired sweating abilities, which can lead to hormonal fluctuations in heat that will cause more dire consequences for them than for others.
3. You’re more prone to hypoglycemia and dehydration.
If you’re taking medication to help you lower your blood sugar, you are more likely to experience hypoglycemia. In hot weather, however, low blood sugar can be hard to detect – symptoms may mimic general heat-related fatigue.
If your blood sugar is too high, conversely, you are more prone to experience dehydration. Diabetics should increase fluid intake during hot weather spells, focusing mostly on drinking more water.
Exercise more caution when driving, working out or doing other activities that require concentration or physical exertion. If you’re traveling in the heat, make sure to stop and check your blood sugar regularly.