Whether you are going on holiday or simply spending some time outdoors in the heat, high temperatures and the close humidity can have an influence for people with diabetes.
This may partly be explained by increased activity in hot weather, but there is no doubt that the heat does affect some people with diabetes in other ways.
Dehydration can be an issue in hot weather, and higher blood glucose levels can further increase this risk.
People with diabetes may need to increase their intake of fluids in hot weather, drinking water regularly through the day.
One of the major concerns regarding diabetes and hot weather is the risk of blood sugar levels rising or falling and causing hypoglycemia.
Tips too stay safe with Diabetes during a heat wave
- Test your blood sugar more often: Insulin absorption can increase in the heat, raising the risk of hypos, especially during exercise. Hot weather can lead to higher blood sugar too. Testing your blood sugar regularly in the heat is advised, particularly if you take gIucose-lowering medication.
- Stay Hydrated: Drinking lots of water in hot weather has several benefits. It lowers the risk of dehydration, can help prevent heat exhaustion, and can improve blood glucose control.
- Don't dismiss hypo symptoms: Having a sweaty brow and feeling fatigued are par for the course in hot weather. But these can also be symptoms of a hypo. If you feel a bit funny then don't just chalk it up to the hot weather; test your blood sugar to confirm if this is a hypo.
- Keep inn the shade: Extreme temperature can affect blood glucose monitors and test strips. Keeping them shaded and out of the sun can prevent misleading results.
- Look after your feet: If you have diabetic neuropathy you may not notice if your feet are too hot. Avoid walking barefoot on hot ground and be sure to regularly apply sunscreen.
- Always carry hypo treatments: The sun can lead to low and high blood sugar levels, so ensuring you always have a source of fast-acting carbohydrate (such as a sugary drink) to treat a hypo is important in case your levels drop.
To prevent hypos, be prepared to test your blood glucose more often, particularly if taking part in physical activity in hot weather. Keep a source of fast-acting carbohydrate at hand, such as glucose tablets or a sugary drink.
You may need to adjust your insulin levels during changes in temperature. If you are experiencing higher or lower blood sugar levels and need advice about adjusting your insulin levels, speak with a member of your healthcare team. And don't forget to use the spike app for insulin reminders!