One out of every six people suffering from type2 diabetes is an Indian. The country lags behind only China when it comes to having the highest population of people with diabetes globally. With almost 77 million people afflicted with diabetes, it is clear that Indians are uniquely prone to this condition. Blame it on the rampant industrialisation, our unique genetic makeup, and the pressure of managing different aspects of daily life. And, what’s more, the sweltering summer heat across most of the country makes it even more challenging for diabetics to deal with fluctuating blood sugar levels.
Here are some time-tested tips which can help you guard against escalating sugar levels and keep your diabetes in check:
Hydration is the key
The summer heat leads to excessive sweating and loss of water from the body, which can cause dehydration. This is a problem for diabetics as dehydration can cause a surge in blood sugar levels. The increased sugar levels also lead to frequent urination, which further leads to the loss of excess water from the body. In such situations, it is ideal to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated at all times. Diabetes can also damage those nerves which oversee the functioning of sweat glands. This leads to further sweating and dehydration. All the more reason to drink sufficient amounts of water during summers. Also, if you are suffering from diabetes, it is best to minimise alcohol as it also contributes to dehydration. Make sure to always carry a full water bottle when stepping out and constantly remind yourself to drink water throughout the day.
Exercise with tact
Staying consistent with your workout can go a long way in keeping your diabetes in check. In fact, daily exercise is fundamental in managing blood sugar levels. But, it is important to do it smartly. The catch-22 with exercising during summers is that you will lose more water from the body through sweating. And, the cardinal rule for diabetics during summer is to avoid dehydration at all costs as it can increase blood sugar levels. Therefore, it is best that you exercise tactfully, especially during summers. If you are used to exercising outdoors, dedicate a particular time of the day preferably early morning or late evening when the sun is not at its peak. You can always hit a nearby gym to reap the benefits of exercising in a cool and air-conditioned place, without the added risks from the hot weather.
Look after your skin
Venturing outdoors during summers can cause sunburns. The combined pain and inflammation due to sunburn can trigger a rise in blood sugar levels. Thus, it is essential to apply sunscreen and wear protective clothing before going outdoors. Also, pay attention to your feet as diabetes can thwart the proper functioning of your nerve and blood vessels. This inhibits the body’s capacity to sense the heat and recover from the injury which can lead to ulcers and more serious health problems. Therefore, ensure that you wear proper footwear or apply sunscreen on your feet and legs to stay protected from the afternoon heat.
Pay extra care to your medications
It is also necessary to manage your medicines with extra precision during summers. The heat can really affect how your medicines work. It increases blood flow to the skin, which in turn increases insulin absorption. On the contrary, the absorption of insulin is reduced when the body is dehydrated. Heat can also impact blood glucose meters and test strips by producing inaccurately high or low readings. So make sure to store all your medications, especially insulin in a cool and dry place.
Monitor your blood sugar regularly
All in all, summers are a challenging time if you have diabetes. The heat can lead to a number of serious complications if you don’t take extra care. Make sure you follow all the aforementioned tips very closely. It will also help if you check your blood sugars on a regular basis. The summers can require adjustments to your medicines. So, it is a good idea to regularly correspond with your diabetologist and health care team to blunt the harsh extremities of summer heat.
(The following article has been written by Dr. Niteesh Choudhry, Prof. Harvard University & Chief Medical Advisor, Decipher Health)
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are that of the author. India TV does not confirm its veracity.