July 23, 2019
Heat and diabetes are a dangerous combination
People with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes feel the heat more than people who don’t have diabetes. Here are a few tips.
By Elizabeth Snouffer
Extreme heat with diabetes can be dangerous. High heat affects blood glucose levels. Recently, extreme heat has been reported in the United States and Europe. Heat and moderate to high activity can make you sweat profusely, and people with diabetes may become dehydrated, leading to a rise in glucose levels. People with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes feel the heat more than people who don’t have diabetes. Here are the reasons why:
Even when it doesn’t seem very hot outside, the combination of heat and humidity (moisture in the air) can be dangerous. When sweat evaporates (dries) on your skin, it removes heat and cools you. It’s harder to stay cool in high humidity because sweat can’t evaporate as well.
High temperatures and heat can change how your body uses insulin. You may need to test your blood glucose more often and adjust your insulin dose and what you eat and drink.
It’s always a good idea to check the heat index when temperatures soar—a measurement that combines temperature and humidity. Take steps to stay cool when it reaches 26°C (80°F) in the shade with 40% humidity or above. Usually the heat index can be up to 15°F higher in full sunlight, so stick to the shade when the weather warms up. For example, if the temperature is 32°C (90°F), a high humidity index may make it feel like 40°C (105°F).
Tips for high heat:
The key in high heat weather is to be vigilant and check your blood glucose often, and seek emergency treatment if necessary.
Elizabeth Snouffer is Editor of Diabetes Voice