Sunshine, barbecues, days on the beach and ice-cold drinks; we love most of the things that come with summer. But for people living with diabetes, the heat comes with a few challenges that can’t be ignored – particularly for those who are big on exercise and staying active.
You don’t have to compromise on all the good things summer brings, but it can’t hurt to be aware of the diabetic-specific risks you’re vulnerable to – dehydration is one of the biggest of those risks.
Remember how your doctor always said “Drink a lot of fluids”?
Dehydration can be a killer, and people with high blood sugar are at much higher risk of becoming dehydrated.
Higher blood-glucose levels, if not handled correctly, can significantly contribute to dehydration and vice-versa. Yes, dehydration can also send your blood sugar levels through the roof, so it’s a bit of a catch-22 unless you manage summer just like you manage your blood sugar.
When you haven’t had enough fluids, the sugar in your circulation system becomes more concentrated. The domino effect continues because high blood sugar leads to more frequent urination and loss of fluids. When our blood sugar is high for prolonged periods, our kidneys attempt to remove excess glucose from the blood. This is excreted as urine.
It’s also a fairly obvious fact that in the summer heat, liquids evaporate far more quickly – like perspiration on your body. That’s more fluid you could be losing. Opinions do vary on how much water you should consume daily but for the most part, the consensus is about two litres. Carrying a water bottle with you at all times and making a habit of taking regular swigs can really save your life.
Balance the positive and the negative
Exercise is good for your overall health. It improves mood, enhances energy levels in the long-term (if you do it regularly) and keeps you in shape.
But as a diabetic, you need to take exercise safety into account; firstly by measuring your glucose levels before your exercise begins. Secondly, and particularly in the summer heat, you should always be more mindful of the potential symptoms of dehydration.
Some of the symptoms are more obvious than others. Thirst, headaches, dry mouth, fatigue and general lethargy are the most common. You may also experience dizziness and confusion. Your pulse rate could go to either extreme (extremely weak or extremely rapid) and your urine becomes darker in colour when dehydrated.
Stay in the know
What is your biggest advantage as a person living with diabetes in summer? Knowledge, of course. In the information age, there are so many online resources that provide reliable information on managing the various types of diabetes and other blood sugar issues.
Stay active but do it the right way. There’s really no reason to compromise your safety in the heat. GlucoRx has an extensive portfolio of diabetes management solutions, including blood glucose/ketone meter systems, lancets, pen needles, diabetic foot foam cream and glucose gel.
We also offer a wide range of informative online content, leaflets and social media updates on diabetes-related topics. Subscribe to our blog and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram so that we can help you live your best life. For now, don’t forget to stay hydrated and remember your sunscreen!