As a man with diabetes, you are likely already aware that there are many considerations about day-to-day life that you have to make for the sake of your health that those without diabetes take for granted. If you work and/or play in the heat, there are special considerations you need to know and be ready to act upon.
All people, with or without diabetes or other chronic illnesses, are subject to the effects of high heat and humidity such as dehydration, heat stroke and heat exhaustion. People with diabetes must take extra precautions due to the nature of the condition and factor in additional considerations such as age, weight status, other chronic conditions, medications and even alcohol use.
The Michigan State University Extension explains that temperatures of 80 degrees Fahrenheit with 40 percent humidity and above place diabetics’ general health and their medications and testing supplies at increased risk. Potential health risks, in addition to those of heat stroke or heat exhaustion include more rapid and frequent blood sugar changes; heat affecting insulin or other diabetic medications and even blood glucose strips and monitors, advises the Mayo Clinic.
You may be wondering how the heat can affect your diabetes. Some diabetics have a reduced tolerance to heat, meaning the natural cooling system of the body such as perspiring doesn’t work, or doesn’t work adequately. For others with diabetes, it isn’t the heat directly that affects their health; it’s the changes in activities or failure to follow adequate nutrition and/or hydration needs.
Recommended Precautions to Avoid Negative Effects of Heat on Your Body
· * Air conditioning is the number one preventive tool to avoid effects of heat and humidity on the body. Even a few hours in an air conditioned environment can help stave off the effects of heat on your body.
· * Avoid working/playing outside in the sun during the peak hours of 10 AM to 2 PM. If you must be outdoors, wear sunscreen, protective clothing, hat and sunglasses.
· * Avoid sunburn; it may raise your blood sugar.
· * Drink plenty of fluids, especially water. Avoid caffeinated and/or sugary liquids and alcoholic beverages.
· * Become familiar with the signs and symptoms of dehydration.
· * Become familiar with the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion.
· * Test blood sugar more often due to increased chances of fluctuations.
· * Wear sunscreen and use protective lip balm.
· * Avoid going barefoot to prevent burns from hot pavement or nicks and scratches.
· * Store insulin in a thermal container kept cool with an ice or gel pack. Do not store the insulin directly against the pack and do not allow it to freeze.
· * Check other medications for possible damage by heat or humidity and take suitable precautions.
* Do not leave medications, blood glucose monitor or test strips in the sun or in enclosed car.
A good source of information on any topic relating to diabetes is the American Diabetes Association.