Diabetes and Summer Heat – A Dangerous Combination
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Even though the dog days of summer have ended, and we head towards fall, our area continues to see hot temperatures. People with both type 1 (juvenile) and type 2 (adult onset) feel the heat more than people who do not have diabetes. Extreme heat like we are experiencing with temps in the upper 90’s to 100 degrees and heat indexes of 105 degrees can be dangerous for everyone, especially for those with diabetes. High heat affects blood glucose levels. High heat, profuse sweating combined with dehydration, lead to a rise in glucose levels. Certain diabetes complications, such as damage to blood vessels and nerves, can affect sweat glands so that your body cannot cool as effectively. Hot temperatures can change how your body uses insulin. In hot weather, more blood flows to the skin to assist with keeping you cool. When dehydrated, just the opposite occurs. Less blood flows to skin and most insulin types do not work as well when blood flow is decreased. Take steps to stay cool during the heat of the day. Drink plenty of water, avoid soft drinks or sports drinks. Be consistent with checking your blood sugar and taking your diabetic medications prescribed by your physician. Do not go barefoot, always protect your feet due to potential nerve damage as a side effect of diabetes. Also wear sunscreen and a hat when you are outside. A severe sunburn causes inflammation, which in turn raises your blood sugar levels. Following these tips will keep you cool and healthy during hot Arkansas days.