Tags: summertime | safety tips | diabetics | special danger | summer weather

Summertime Safety Tips for Diabetics

Thursday, 24 Jun 2010 08:39 AM


Summer weather is here with high temperatures and humidity that leave everyone drooping. But diabetics, while they often don't realize it, are in special danger.

"People with diabetes have an impaired ability to sweat, which predisposes them to heat-related illnesses, as do uncontrollable high blood sugars," the Mayo Clinic's Dr. Adrienne Nassar said in a statement.

Nassar was the lead researcher on a study that surveyed the responses of 152 diabetics about heat awareness. Twenty percent said they took no special precautions until the temperature was over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. But according to Nassar, that can be too late: When the humidity is high, diabetics can begin to be at risk with temperatures as low as 80 F.

The study found about half of diabetics didn't understand the meaning of the heat index, which is a combination of temperature and humidity, and how it affects them. As the humidity levels rise, the danger rises since humidity can reduce perspiration and inhibit the body's ability to cool itself. Diabetics are especially at risk because they already don't sweat enough.

While a majority of people in the study realized that heat affected insulin, most didn't realize that it also affects oral medications as well as glucose monitors and glucose testing strips.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke include nausea, muscle cramps, lightheadedness, dizziness, and rapid heartbeat. Heat stroke is life-threatening and symptoms include mental confusion, headache, and high body temperature.

HealthMad.com offers the following tips to help diabetics stay safe during the heat of summer:

• Avoid exercising in the heat.

• Drink lots of fluids, but avoid caffeinated beverages which can be dehydrating.

• Check sugar levels at least four times a day since blood sugars are less predictable in hot weather.

• Carry diabetic supplies in an insulated bag with a cold pack inside.


"Increasingly, more people with diabetes are living in places characterized by hot weather," Nassar said. "Patient education focusing on diabetes management in hot climates is needed."



© HealthDay

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Summer weather is here with high temperatures and humidity that leave everyone drooping. But diabetics, while they often don't realize it, are in special danger.
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2010-39-24
 

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