Managing diabetes requires awareness and thinking ahead, especially when temperatures begin to rise.
Hot weather poses unique challenges for diabetics. Education is the key to mastering health safety during summer months. The more you learn, the more you can avoid painful symptoms, as well as cultivate a sense of control over your condition. Here are several tips on how to respond to the trials of summer and manage your diabetes.
Hydrate wisely. Dehydration is a particularly critical issue for diabetics. If you have a high blood glucose level, your body eliminates fluids more quickly than under normal circumstances, so you're in greater danger of dehydration. Carry water with you and indulge in delicious hydrating fruits and vegetables, like watermelon and celery. If you find yourself feeling faint, move to a cool place quickly and ask someone for help.
Be cool. The more time spent out of high temperatures, whether exercising or relaxing, the safer you'll be. Stick with the shade or, better yet, air conditioned environments and keep body temperature in mind when choosing what to wear. Heat exhaustion happens more to those with special conditions like diabetes, so know the signs:
- Nausea, vomiting
- Breathlessness, dizziness
- Chills or extreme sweating
- Unexplainable headache
- Unusual pulse
Care for your equipment. Blood glucose strips and insulin require room temperature storage, so keep them in a cool, dry place. The same consideration goes for your meter. If traveling, carry these items with you in your purse or backpack so they'll never be forgotten in the car. If these items do overheat, replace them. Insulin pumps can be problematic due to sweating; consult your doctor before long heat exposure or strenuous activity.
Invest in your health this summer by taking advantage of Central Florida Regional Hospital's premier Diabetes Educational Program. Its comprehensive in-patient and out-patient formats feature concepts such as meal planning, self-monitoring skills and insulin use. Both personal counseling and monthly group classes are available. To register or to learn more about our program, call (407) 321-4500, extension 5249.