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Do you find it difficult to get your sugar levels down during the summer season? Well, managing diabetes all year-round can be a challenge, but the hot weather is the most difficult time for all diabetic patients. Wonder why and how? Well, summertime makes you more sensitive and can make it harder to keep your blood sugar level under control because of reasons such as heat exhaustion or dehydration. Therefore, diabetes during summer needs extra care and attention.
Before we get down to the solution, Health Shots spoke to Dr Pritam Moon, consultant physician, and Diabetologist, Wockhardt Hospitals, Mira Road, Mumbai, to find out how summer exactly impacts diabetic patients.
If you have diabetes, be extra careful during summer, because people with diabetes can get easily dehydrated as they will lose too much water from their bodies. Moreover, low water intake can lead to elevated blood sugar levels. Remember that high sugar can make you urinate more, inviting dehydration.
Dr Moon said, “Summer is challenging for diabetics. Because certain diabetes complications like damage to blood vessels and nerves, impact the sweat glands and then the body is unable to stay cool as it is supposed to. This can cause heat exhaustion and heat stroke, which can lead to loss of life.”
That’s why it is important to keep sugar levels under control in the summer. Dr Moon suggested some tips or ways to prevent diabetes related problems in summer.
When your body is exposed to heat during the summer season you lose more water through sweat which can result in dehydration. And dehydration can lead to increased blood sugar levels. Not only does dehydration lead to high blood sugar but high blood sugar can make you urinate more, causing dehydration. Dr Moon said you can avoid dehydration by drinking a lot of water. But skip the sugar-sweetened beverages.
There are certain beverages that can lead to dehydration such as alcohol and caffeine-based drinks like coffee and energy sports drinks because they have a diuretic (a type of drug that causes the kidneys to make more urine, leading to dehydration) effect. These beverages can lead to water loss in your body and a spike in blood sugar levels. So cut down the intake of such drinks
Yes, you need to monitor your blood sugar level from time-to-time during the summer season. Being outside in hot weather can result in fast heart rate and sweating, which can affect your blood sugar levels. You may also need to change your insulin intake so consult with your doctor if you would like to change the dosage.
According to Dr Moon, you can keep your blood sugar levels in the recommended range by staying physically active. To stay active and avoid the summer heat, you can try walking in the morning and early evening, when it cools down. Also because of exercise your blood sugar level may fluctuate so test it before doing exercises and after finishing it.
You need to protect yourself from the summer sun to keep your blood sugar level in check. It may come off as a surprise but, sunburn tends to stress the body and raises blood sugar levels. So, to avoid scorching heat, use sunscreen. Along with it, in order to avoid sunburn play it safe in the sun with a hat, sunglasses, and umbrella. Also, make sure you reapply the sunscreen when you’re out, covering the exposed parts of the body.
Oranges, grapefruit, raspberries, kiwi, avocado, peaches, plum, apples, watermelon, and blackberries are some of the fruits which can keep you full for a long time and won’t even increase your glucose levels. In fact, they are very healthy and packed with essential nutrients. And that’s why they indeed deserve a place in your daily diet! For the salad, you can include cucumber, spinach, radish, etc.
Protect your feet not just in summer but always, in any weather! Avoid walking barefoot even at home so wear flip flops or sandals. If you’re a diabetic, walking barefoot may increase the risk of cutting your foot which could lead to infection. Examine your feet daily to prevent any diabetes-related foot complications.
So, enjoy the summer but keep these tips in mind!