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Diabetes research is turning up new information on diabetes and diabetes management all the time. In 2009, I wrote a blog about the effects of heat on blood glucose control if you have diabetes. I mentioned, then, that heat doesn't have a direct effect on your blood glucose, but that heat can lead to changes in your daily routine which, in turn, can affect your blood glucose.
Later research, published in September 2010 by researchers at Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, Ariz., suggests, additionally, that some Arizonans with diabetes have considerable gaps in their "heat awareness."
This lack of awareness led to actions such as waiting until temperatures were quite high (above 101 F, or 38.3 C) before taking precautions against the heat and leaving medications and supplies at home rather than risk exposing them to the heat — meaning not having the supplies to manage diabetes while away from home.
Sweating is an important means of cooling the body in hot weather, and the ability to sweat can be affected in some people with diabetes. Other studies have shown an increase in emergency room visits, in those who have diabetes, when temperatures are high. Diabetes equipment and medications can also be affected by heat.
Tips for managing diabetes in warm temperatures remain the same:
In extreme heat, also take these extra measures:
Have a good summer, and remember to take precautions for the hot weather.
Nancy Klobassa Davidson, R.N.
Peggy Moreland, R.N.
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Hi, looking for some help i am a type 2 diabetic and work in the UK for one of the large supermarkets in one of there distribution centers. We supply our stores with fresh meat, fruit, vegetables from a refrigerated part of the warehouse and longer life goods from an ambient area in the warehouse. There are two refrigerated areas one for the meat and it is around 2-3 Celsius, the veg is around 5 Celsius. i Work in the ambient at what ever the outside temperature but have to share with part of one of the refrigerated areas until they have completed the rest of the new building. It has been unseasonable worm in the later half of the year anything from the upper teens Celsius up too 26 Celsius and we have had to deal with crossing from the hot to the cold areas multiple times across my working day (40-60 times as an estimate).
A few years back i had a couple of sinus infections but with some antibiotics these cleared up, this only happened in the summer when we would have to move things to the area that was 2-3 Celsius. Then came a point were that area moved into a new building and the problem with the sinus stopped all together. Move forward to the middle of 2014 the second part of the new building is ready and the department with the 5 Celsius temperature move in followed by my department a few weeks later. I was working there a couple of weeks and the problem with the sinus infections starts up again. Since moving into the new building i have had 4 bouts of infection one being so bad that it effected the vision in my right eye and i have now been disciplined for my absence, and my employer just refuses to accept that the constant changes in temperature has any effect on my condition.
The question im asking is what effect does constant to-ING and fro-ING from one area to another were the temperature change has been as much as 20 degrees Celsius be having on me. I know that diabetes can be effected with the change in the seasonal temperatures so what must body be thinking when it is being hit with summer to winter like changes on the scale im enduring at work.
Hot tubs and alchol was some of my first experience with a drastic change . To the point of scary and not knowing why ! Diabetic from weight since 79 I finally realized that the heat n booze were causing this. Also worked in a steel mill for 38 yrs . There it was extreme heat on humid days ! Sharing my knowledge , even my emotional &physical changed ! Now 66
Altitude does affect meters. The best place to find out about this is in owner's booklet that comes with the meter. Generally, every meter company lists specifications for altitude.
Can you say more about how altitude affects meters? I ran a search on this and found little on the subject, and that was more than a decade old? I am 59, live at 7500 ft. and relatively new to my T2 diagnosis and want to try and keep my relatively good health.
Hey, I lived in Arizona for while and it does get hot there. I never went anywhere without my water bottle when I lived in Arizona. Stress affects everyone differently, with some people blood sugars will go up and others it will drop. Often people tell me that with activity in extreme heat their insulin requirements need to be lower.
Its odd to read the comments of those upset that Nancy's article. It seems some commenters may have missed her message. She DOES recognize that diabetics have increased trouble in heat. She states that diabetics have more trouble in heat BECAUSE they "lack heat awareness"! The nerve damage of diabetes means our bodies don't realize how hot they are getting and sweat less than folks with good nerves in their skin. She also warns that heat harms insulin and test strips. What I'm reading from Nancy is good advice saying take heat seriously. I think maybe some commenters misunderstood her message.
I live in southeast Arizona at a mile high but it still gets into the high 90s. What about changes in insulin dosage and extreme heat? Should it be increased to offset increased stress on the body.
I was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 7. I am now 70. I live in Virginia where the temperatures have been very high 100+. I have been without A/C for 25 days now due to many errors of my home warranty company and the local A/C company hired to replace the bad equipment. Yesterday the temperature in my home was 91 degrees. Thank God I woke up at 3:00 am. MY BS was 42. I decreased by 50% the bolus of my insulin pump for 4 hours and I drank lots of cold water. I am alive today. My A/C is scheduled to be repaired on Thursday so I must endure 2 more days of this heat wave. I am a strong woman but this frightens me.
I believe it is a geinnatroeal thing, I'm 58 but I have heard this as child from my parents and other family members and I grew in New England but I do not know the origin of using the term sugar to mean diabetes. I also have a more general comment about your website.I agree with your idea of a strong diabetic, I was diagnosed with type 2 in 2004, at the time I weighed 323 lbs and also had hypertension and high cholesterol. I lost 150 lbs in 1 1/2 years and have maintained the weight loss. When diagnosed my a1c was 10.5 and fasting blood sugar was 257 and was prescribed glyburide. I changed my diet, started to exercise lost 20 lbs the first month. My fasting level dropped to 95-100 and was able to stop taking the medication. My yearly a1c test has been 4.2 for the last 6 years, fasting levels and 2 hrs after meals levels has been normal. I don't have hypertension and cholesterol levels are low. My exercise routine is 30 mins a day 3 to 5 days a week, including both cardio and weight training. My diet though is different from yours, I don't eat anything made from white flour, white rice and very little sugar. I do eat more whole grains, including whole wheat products and brown rice. A lot more fruits, vegetables, non fat dairy and less meat and fish. Eating more whole grains and fruit does not give me any spikes in my blood sugar, after eating a large meal that included whole wheat bread, vegetables including potato, fruit, and fish. My blood sugar level
Hi Janis, I generally don't give out brand names but there is a product available by Frio that provides insulin cooling cases and they have a pump cooling wallet. The cooling works through the process of evaporation. I have had patients traveling in tropical areas that had no access to refridgeration and it worked well for them.
Should I expect that the strength of the insulin in my pump will diminish more quickly on hot days? If so, are there ways to keep my pump cooler when I am outdoors in the heat?
Your blog is just common sense. Tell us something that is new, different and will work!
How are they doing on checking glucose levels without puncturing the skin!
Try not to let your blood glucose to ever get over 200!
Do not eat full meals, for diabetics to not spike, browse.
BUT the key to weight loss is to reduce your insulin injections. Insulin makes you hungry. Dont take as much insulin and browse and NOT eat big meals.
My husband is type 1, extreme heat lowers his blood glucose due to heat causing his body to use his insulin more quickly. We were informed of this by a certified diabetes educator and confirmed by his M.D. Extreme cold can also cause lower readings. Either way, in extreme temps. we take precautions beyond what is normally recommended for the general population.
I HAVE CENTRAL AIR AND I STAY IN ALL THE TIME EARLY IN THE MORNINGI WATER MY FLOWERS ALSO I HAVE A DIABETIC CAT 17YRS OLD HES ON INSULIN I KEEP IT COOL FOR HIM
Nancy and Terry I have a problem. You are telling people lies such as the heat does no effect you at all on blood sugar, but it does. It really does. This is my problem. Thanks.
I would suggest reading this site for people with type one and two. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/29/health/29real.html. Because as these experts say there is no direct effect well.... There is. I'm sorry about this experts but those are suggestions all people with or with out diabetes should do, drink water, sunscreen, but if not taken extra precautions for diabetics the heat can lead to very serious consequences.
I know your experts and all, but sorry to say the heat does effect us. Diabetics do not sweat the same as people without diabetes. I wound know being a type one diabetic.
Terry, As you know there are many variables that can affect your blood glucose. Heat does not have a direct effect on your blood glucose, but stress can. Generally, stress will raise the blood glucose.
I know this is an old blog. But I have been moved to an office that has averaged 86 degrees. I am 63 and I have Diabetes 2. My blood sugar has been very high. I am miserable in this office and they are trying to fix it. Will this heat make my blood sugar higher? My blood pressure has been average. My blood sugar has been 175 sometimes a little higher. If anyone can help . I control my blood sugar with tablets. Thank you so much
Norman: Sorry to hear about your fiancee. We recommend that you follow closely with an endocrinologist and a certified diabetes educator. The American Association of Diabetes Educators (www.diabeteseducator.org/) website lists diabetes educators in your area.
My fiancee is recovering in hospital from a serious case of DKA, she also had an embolus in the lung during her hospital stay.
We neither of us wish to hVe this happen again.
Could you please give us the the dos and don'ts so we can avoid this in the future.
Claudia: Ask his physician for a referral to a certified diabetes educator who will instruct you on insulin dose adjustment instructions. If you are from the US search the American Association of Diabetes Educator website for a list of certified diabetes educators near you.
I am taking care of my father-in-law. He takes 3-5 injections a day for high blood sugar. But he has occasions that it drops to a dangerous low. We cannot figure out why, or what is causing it. His doctor has not given a reason, just said keep something sweet near by. It can happen in the middle of the night, or suddenly at any time in between meal time. Is there a reason it does this?
OK, so I understand about keeping insulin cool -- but how do you keep insulin cool in a pump if you work outside with heat indexes over a hundred on a regular basis? I assume that insulin is affected too by the heat -- isn't it?!?
Why do farmers have a lower insulin requirement in the summer when they are in the fields?
Thanks for any insights.
hello every body my name is cory and iam 17, i want to just say i am a hog (pig) hunter one day in the hot summer heat i caught a hog in my trap it was so hot i passed out and my bg(blood glucose) was reading on my meter critacal high. and went to the hospital and went into dka and got imitted to icu
My son has Type 1 Diabetes which he seems to control very well according to regular Dr. check ups. However, he also has Muscular Dystrophy and is in a wheelchair, so his ability to exercise is almost nil. He has had both diseases since he was bout 17, and is 45 now. The last few years, his ankles have almost continuous sores, for which he applies an antibiotic prescription. Would a heated water foot spa, about 115 degrees, be helpful to his circulation, or in some way harm him?
I have a friend who moved to Beaumont who has diabetes and is getting married before my friend moved to Beaumont she worked out in the heat in the parking lot of a grocery store in Texas City, Texas. That same day she tested her blood sugar and it was low.
I am a borderline diabetic myself and have family that are diabetics. Does it increase my chances of developing diabetes as well.
Dear Nancy and Peggy
My 4 year old (diagnosed at 21 months) has recently, on two different occasions, suffered from a stiff neck. Once on the rightside and once on the leftside.
I am quite concerned as to what could be causing this.
His parents are very attentive to his health, but perceive my concern as meddling. So I just have to watch and wonder in silence. Can you offer any insight to this?
Kent, we hear you! Good luck with the El
Tour De Tucson race.
Thanks Nancy and Peggy
When I ride and RACE I am competing against non-diabetics I wish one of the blood glucose meter manufactures would come out with a more durable meter, for those of us that don't let the disease stop us, I would pay top dollar! Next race El Tour De Tucson-109 miles.
Kent: After personally paging through a number of package inserts for multiple brands of meters; the general rule for most meters is to keep meters and test strips at room temperature and away from direct sunlight, moisture and heat. This makes it tough in extreme conditions. I would keep the meter/test strips next to my body and underneath the clothing or in insulated packs. Look at the package insert, if you still have it, and it will give you specifics on temp range for your meter.
Ok, if hot weather doesn't have an affect on your blood sugar then the comment "...insulin can break down in extreme heat" wouldn't cause a change in blood sugar? I think so. I'm type 2 as well.
Don’t forget to take electrolytes.
I commute to work 3 days a week and ride 50 to 60 miles on Saturday I have type 1 diabetes.
I need a blood glucose meter that can handle extreme cold, wind and heat and one handed. Any suggestions.
I currently use Accu-check compact strapped to my arm. From Tucson AZ.
T2 = Type 2 diabetic
what is t2?
The heat doesn't bother me but humidity does. I eat less when I'm busy outdoors, so that only helps my blood glucose. I exercise in an air-conditioned gym, which keeps my energy at normal levels. I'm T2 and controlling with diet and exercise.
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