Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Diabetes Management Guide for Heatwaves & Summer Holidays

As global temperatures continue to rise, heat waves have become increasingly frequent and intense, posing significant challenges to individuals across the world. The issuance of heatwave alerts by the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) presents a unique set of risks for individuals living with diabetes. Managing diabetes is already a delicate balancing act, but when combined with extreme heat, it becomes even more crucial to take proactive measures to protect one's health.

People With Diabetes Need To Stay Alert To The Effects Of The Changing Patterns And Weather

keeping an eye on your glucose levels is a priority and for people with diabetes, monitoring blood sugar levels is vital, especially in case of any lifestyle changes that cause these levels to fluctuate. This process is made easy with CGM devices like FreeStyle Libre, which offer a prick-free, painless solution to help you keep a check on your condition even on the go. You should keep an eye on your readings and try to stay in the optimal glucose range for about 17 out of the 24 hours each day.  

Dr. Pramila Kalra, Endocrinologist, Professor and Head, department of Endocrinology, Ramaiah Medical College and Hospitals Bengaluru, said, “A healthy routine is key when it comes to diabetes management. In the summer months there can be a complete upheaval of one’s daily regimen. This can result in people not maintaining a diabetes-friendly diet, or not checking their blood glucose levels on time. In the summer, especially when there is a heatwave, people with diabetes are also prone to dehydration, especially if they have uncontrolled, high blood glucose levels. To achieve the right balance when it comes to maintaining blood sugar levels, a few measures should be kept in mind, including continuous glucose monitoring (CGM), so that a disruption in routine does not cause a disruption to diabetes management.”

In the season’s sweltering heat, it is especially important for people with diabetes to regularly check blood sugar levels and try to keep them in the specified target range (commonly 70 – 180 mg/dl) for a good portion of these days. This can be easily done using tools like (CGM) devices, which don’t involve finger pricking to give you information on your glucose levels. Such devices have metrics like Time in Range – and checking your readings more often is associated with more time spent in your optimal range, which can improve your glucose control.

Besides this, here are 5 simple steps to enjoy the summer season and beat the heatwaves while keeping your diabetes in check:

Drink Plenty of Fluids: Travel and increased time spent outdoors form the perfect recipe for dehydration. To avoid this, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, fresh fruit juices, and caffeine-free beverages, even if you’re not particularly thirsty. You can also have coconut water, sugar-free lemonade, lassi (buttermilk), and more, while avoiding alcohol and caffeine. 

Stay away from the scorching sunlight: During the summer, people can’t wait to have picnics or go cycling in the park with friends. For people with diabetes, this can result in a greater risk of heat exhaustion if they are under the sun for long periods of time. Know the signs to watch out for, including dizziness, sweating, muscle cramps, fainting, headaches, an increased heartbeat, and nausea. If you feel the onset of these symptoms, move to a cooler location and hydrate.

Plan your exercise smartly: While relaxation is the mantra of a good summer, exercise remains important to help people manage diabetes. You can work out outside early morning or late evening but try sticking to an indoor gym or practicing yoga stretches at home when temperatures are higher.

Eat right: When people visit home, this can mean giving into their street food or local food cravings. On vacation, they may want to try new restaurants and cuisines more often. People with diabetes must take extra care to maintain a balanced, healthy diabetes-friendly diet and avoid giving into temptations that may disrupt their glucose levels.

By following these tips and consulting your doctor and creating a holistic diabetes management, you can aim to be in the target glucose range for at least 70% of the day – even in the summer months.

The summertime is synonymous with taking a break and feeling carefree. While having diabetes may make this difficult, taking small and easy steps to manage the lifestyle disease can help you take control of your health and enjoy the season and live fully. 

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