Eating balanced meals, getting regular physical activity, and maintaining a healthy weight are all important when it comes to diabetes management. But even when you’re doing things right, you may have a harder time managing your diabetes in the heat of summer.
At East Side Primary Medical Care in New York City’s Upper East Side, we know all about how hot it gets in the city during the summer. There’s a reason we get health alerts when it’s HHH — hazy, hot, and humid. Those hot, sticky summer days are hard on everyone, but can be especially troublesome to our patients with diabetes.
Our primary care physician, Dr. Daniel Klein, specializes in diagnosing and treating diabetes. Here, we want to share with you some tips for managing your diabetes in the heat of the summer.
Summer heat is hard on everyone. But if you have diabetes, your summer may feel hotter. That’s because diabetes complications may affect sweat gland function. Sweating is how your body keeps cool. If you can’t sweat, your body can’t regulate its internal temperature, so you feel hotter. Not sweating also increases your risk of heat stroke, which is a medical emergency.
Dehydration is also a concern for people with diabetes during the summer. If you don’t drink enough fluids to meet your needs, your blood sugar level goes up, leading to an increase in urination that leads to dehydration.
The summer heat also affects insulin function, making it harder for you to keep your blood glucose numbers within an appropriate range. You should do more home blood glucose checks during the summer to keep track of your numbers, especially if you take insulin injections.
Now that you know how summer affects your diabetes, we can talk about what you can do to manage it. In addition to more frequent blood sugar checks, we also recommend:
And, on the days when it’s hazy, hot, and humid, keep cool in air-conditioned places. If you don’t have air conditioning at home, go to a department store or the public library or another climate-controlled place to avoid the heat.
Your medications and equipment are also sensitive to the heat of summer. Store your insulin and oral hypoglycemic medication as directed by your pharmacist. Don’t keep any of your medication in direct sunlight or a hot car.
Your glucose monitor and test strips are also sensitive to heat. When at the beach or pool, keep your equipment in a cool place out of direct sunlight.
Don’t let your diabetes dictate how you spend your summer. If you need help managing your diabetes, call our office or book an appointment online today. We also offer telemedicine visits.