Summer is just a few days away and with it will come the heat. Some recent summer-like temperatures were a good reminder of how the weather can make us feel, said Emily Marrison, Ohio State University Extension Educator for Family and Consumer Sciences in Coshocton County.
People who have diabetes (both type 1 and type 2) can feel the heat more intensely than those who do not. Diabetes can result in complications that affect the efficiency of several systems in the body.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, diabetes can lead to damage to blood vessels and nerves. This means that sweat glands can be less effective not allowing the body to cool itself as well. In general, people with diabetes get dehydrated more quickly. Not drinking enough liquids can raise blood sugar.
Higher blood sugar can increase urination which can also lead to dehydration. People who need insulin may need to adjust their insulin dose, so close monitoring of blood sugar levels is recommended. Insulin and oral diabetes medicines should not be stored in sunlight or a hot car. The same goes for equipment and supplies. Heat can damage blood sugar monitors, insulin pumps and test strips.
Drink water, carry emergency snack, avoid extreme temperatures
Cleveland Clinic Endocrinologist Dr. Marwan Hamaty encourages his patients to participate in outdoor activities in all sorts of weather. He simply advises them to take certain precautions. These are good tips to keep in mind:
- Drink plenty of water. This applies to everyone whether or not they have diabetes.
- Keep items to treat low blood sugar with you. Though diabetes is associated with high blood sugar levels, people with diabetes can also experience low blood sugar with increased exercise. Have glucose tabs or glucose gel handy.
- Snacks may also be helpful to regulate blood sugar levels. Discuss some good options with your dietitian.
- Avoid dehydration. When you are active in warm weather, consider carrying along a low-calorie electrolyte-replenishing sports drink.
- Avoid sunburn. This is also helpful advice for everyone. Sunburn stresses your body, and this can raise blood sugar levels.
- Avoid temperature extremes. When possible, take it easy on exceptionally hot and humid days. There is a difference between 80 degrees and 95 degrees, and your body will let you know. Whenever possible, aim to stay in the shade rather than direct sunlight.
To help people manage their diabetes, Ohio State University Extension offers Dining with Diabetes. A series of four classes, the program provides cooking classes and tastings as well as nutritional knowledge diabetics need in order to live healthy. Each class features a small meal, cooking demonstration and a lesson on an important topic to better manage diabetes.
Dining and Diabetes program coming in July
OSU Extension in Wayne County is partnering with Wooster Community Hospital to offer Dining with Diabetes Monday evenings July 10, 17, 24, and 31 from 5:30-7:30 pm. The cost of the program is $25 per person and includes all four classes, educational handouts and small meals that feature a variety of recipes. You are also encouraged to register a support person to attend with you for an additional $10.
Melinda Hill, FCS Educator for OSU Extension in Wayne County, will co-teach the classes with registered dietitians at the hospital. Hospital chefs will prepare the meals. Those with diabetes or pre-diabetes and their family members or caretakers are encouraged to attend. Register online by July 5 at woosterhospital.org/dining-with-diabetes. No registrations will be taken at the Extension office.
Laurie Sidle is a program assistant for 4-H and Family and Consumer Sciences at OSU Extension, Wayne County.
She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 330-264-8722
CFAES provides research and related educational programs to clientele on a nondiscriminatory basis. For more information, visit cfaesdiversity.osu.edu
This article was previously published in The Daily Record.