Summer is right around the corner, and after the year we’ve all had, warm temperatures, sunshine, and the joys of spending time outdoors are just what we need.
But summer sun comes with summer heat. And while high temperatures and extended, unprotected exposure to the sun’s harmful rays pose risks to everyone, they are especially perilous for people with diabetes.
What Makes Summer Heat So Dangerous For People With Diabetes?
Heat combined with moderate to high activity can cause individuals to sweat profusely. In turn, that perspiration can leave you dehydrated, and for people with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes, dehydration can cause blood glucose levels to rise. Not drinking enough liquids can further raise blood glucose, and high blood glucose can make you urinate more, causing even more dehydration.
Excessive heat can be a factor in other diabetes complications and health problems as well. Damage to blood vessels and nerves, a common issue for people with diabetes, can affect your sweat glands so your body can’t cool down as effectively as it should. That can lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke, both of which are serious medical emergencies. High temperatures and heat can also affect how your body uses insulin. During the summer, you may need to test your blood sugar more frequently, adjust your insulin dose, or make changes to what you eat and drink.
How To Protect Yourself Against Extreme Heat
- Drink plenty of water—even if you’re not thirsty.
- Avoid or minimize your consumption of alcohol and drinks with caffeine as they can lead to water loss and cause a spike in your blood sugar levels.
- Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, and light-colored clothing.
- Apply sunscreen regularly and wear a hat when you’re outside. Sunburn and the inflammation it causes can raise your blood sugar levels.
- Retreat to an air-conditioned building to stay cool.
- Check your blood sugar before, during, and after physical activity or spending a significant time in the summer heat. You may need to adjust your insulin use as well.
Continuous Glucose Monitoring Can Make Your Summer a Breeze
As noted, summer heat requires even more vigilance when it comes to checking blood sugar levels. That is why you should make Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) part of your lifestyle this summer and beyond.
CGM is an alternative to disruptive and inconvenient finger-pricking that has long been the primary method of checking blood sugar. It is a proven, approved, and easy-to-use transceiver device that provides real-time glucose readings every few minutes through a tiny sensor underneath the skin. This sensor measures your interstitial glucose level and then sends the data to a pager-like monitor or an app on your smartphone. An alarm will sound if your blood sugar becomes too high or too low.
Ask your doctor about CGM and contact us today to see if you qualify for CGM and access our guide to continuous glucose monitoring.