For countless people, summer is the best time of year – and it’s not hard to see why. This season is a great time to enjoy outdoor activities like barbecues, beach parties, and fireworks displays. But even if you take time off during the summer months, you can’t afford to stop taking diabetes management seriously at this time of year.
The symptoms and complications tied to diabetes don’t go away when the temperature rises. In fact, the combination of summer weather and diabetes can lead to several issues if you aren’t careful. Luckily, some simple diabetes management methods can help you make this summer a delightful one.
Diabetes and Summer Weather
If you have type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes, you’re particularly susceptible to the effects of summer weather. Here’s how heat and humidity can affect people with diabetes:
Heat and Diabetes
Some of the most well-known complications of diabetes include damage to nerves and blood vessels. Those complications can cause problems on their own, but they can also change how your sweat glands work. That means people with diabetes can have trouble cooling down, possibly leading to heat exhaustion or even heat stroke. Be alert to signs of heat exhaustion and contact your health provider if necessary.
Many people with diabetes also find it easier than average to get dehydrated. That is partially due to the increased urination caused by high blood sugar levels. Additionally, medications like diuretics can make the issue worse. Because of this, it’s essential to make sure you’re getting enough fluids during the summer.
Finally, the summer heat can even change how your body uses insulin. To ensure you’re staying in range, it’s a good idea to test your blood sugar more often than usual in the summertime.
Humidity and Diabetes
Even dry heat can be dangerous to people with diabetes, but warm summer days can also be very humid. That’s a problem because sweat cools people down by evaporating. Since less sweat will evaporate when it’s humid out, this system won’t work as effectively. Combined with the sweat-related issues you may already have if you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, this can be a real cause for concern.
To predict the effects of heat and humidity, you might want to check the heat index. This measurement takes both of these factors into account, making it an ideal reference point for people with diabetes. Generally speaking, if it’s 80°F in the shade and humidity levels are at 40 percent or higher, it’s time to think about ways to stay cool.
Follow These Diabetes Management Tips This Summer
Living with diabetes during the summer may sound tricky, but you shouldn’t have to work too hard to stay healthy at this time of year. Just make sure to follow these pieces of advice:
Anyone can get dehydrated during the dog days of summer – and that goes double for people with diabetes. Try to drink plenty of water when it’s hot out, whether you’re thirsty or not. But don’t replace water with alcohol, sports drinks, or caffeinated beverages! These can cause you to lose water, along with potentially making your blood sugar spike.
Don’t Ignore Your Blood Glucose Levels
Summer might be a busy time of year for you, but you shouldn’t test your blood sugar less often because of that. Instead, it’s a good idea to do more tests than average during this season. Along with the effects of heat and humidity on people with diabetes, some foods that are often served at summertime events can increase your blood sugar.
Dress For the Weather
Wearing the right clothes for any season is crucial – after all, you wouldn’t put on shorts and a tank top during a blizzard. You’ll need to put some thought into your summer wardrobe, as well. Wear clothes that are loose, lightly colored, and lightweight. When you go outside, put on a hat and sunscreen for added protection. For your exercise routine, also watch with the time of day you’re exercising outside. You might have to exercise outside in the early morning when it is cooler outside. Finally, make sure not to go barefoot!
Update Your Diabetes Diet
If you’ve worked hard to develop a dietary plan for diabetes, you may not think there’s any need to change it now. However, adjusting your diet to reflect what’s in season is a fantastic way to mix up your routine while enjoying different fruits and vegetables. These are some of the best types of summer produce for diabetes:
- Watermelon. This fruit is practically synonymous with summer, and it’s a great source of hydration, too. Along with that, it’s packed with antioxidants like lycopene, and high in vitamins C and A, and other nutrients.
- Cucumbers. When you eat a cup of cucumbers, you’re getting just 4 grams of carbohydrates and 16 calories. They have small amounts of Vitamin K and A but are 95% water. Eat them without removing their seeds or skins – you’ll get more nutrients that way!
- Tomatoes. Whether they’re a vegetable or a fruit, tomatoes are a healthy seasonal addition to your plate. They can lower your risk of complications from diabetes, are low in calories and carbs, and deliver several essential vitamins to promote good health. They are an excellent source of Vitamin C, A and K.
- Peppers. Want a crispy but sweet addition to your meals? Peppers are loaded with healthy nutrients and antioxidants. They are a great source of vitamin C, B6, thiamine, folic acid and beta-carotene. Try different color varieties like yellow, red, and green.
Prepare For the Worst
When you think of summer weather, your mind might jump to sunny skies and gentle breezes. That can be the case much of the time, but not always. The start of June for certain areas means the start of hurricane season, and significant thunderstorms are also more common in the warmer months.
Weather-related emergencies during the summer could cause a power outage in your area or force you to shelter away from home. Have a plan in place to protect medications like insulin that need to be refrigerated, and make a supply kit you can grab if you need to leave in a hurry.
Keep Your Diabetes Supplies Cool
Certain types of supplies used by people with diabetes can be affected by summer weather. Do you use insulin, oral medications, or a combination of both? If so, don’t leave these medicines in a hot car or direct sunlight. And if you’re going on a summer road trip, keep your medications in a cooler (without putting your insulin in direct contact with ice or an ice pack).
Other diabetes supplies that heat can damage include:
You should choose a reliable company to send you supplies like these year-round. Are you looking for a trustworthy diabetes supply company? If so, get started with ADS today!