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Summer Not Easy For The Diabetic

Whether using an insulin pen or taking pills to regulate blood sugar levels, summertime is not an easy time for the diabetic. The heat affects their conditions in many ways.

Weather fronts are not much of an issue this time of the year. Heat and the danger of dehydration are. Heat induces sweating – the diabetic are more prone to excess perspiration to begin with – resulting in ion deficiency. Patients are losing more than average water through loose stool, a symptom of neuropathy, and excess urination. When blood sugar level increases above 8 mmol/l glucose enters the kidney tubules, prompting increased urination due to osmotic diuresis.
Extra caution is needed with certain anti-diabetic formulas, which reduce blood sugar levels by increasing glucose in the urine. Patients taking such formulas has to make sure that they drink plenty of water. All in all, hydration is the key issue for the diabetic in the summer heat, making up for the increased loss of water through excessive urination, loose stool and perspiration.

Good to know

  •  We lose our appetite in the heat and crave for different food than in winter. Diabetic patients might need less insulin as a result. Traveling abroad and eating unfamiliar food, especially carbohydrates, call for precautions too. Check your blood sugar level more frequently when on the road.
  • Long-haul flights make things even more complicated. Flying across time zones might mean that you have to skip a jab with the pen, while flying in the other direction could call for an extra shot. Consult your doctor before venturing on a long journey.
  • Take your insulin aboard because it could easily froze in the cargo bay. Use a small thermo bag and always carry extra ammo: more than you actually need. The sugar meter is also sensitive to heat so never leave it in the car or expose to direct sunlight lest you end up with false readings.

Doctor’s order

“Your daily water ration is 2-3 litres of mineral water with normal natrium content. With perspiration we lose salt and certain heart medications are also diuretic. The combined effect is salt deficiency, the typical symptoms of which are confusion and vomiting,” explains Dr. Éva Takács internist and diabetes specialist at Dr. Rose Private Hospital. You are better off swapping around mineral water brands every six-packs, so that you sufficiently replenish all minerals.