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Summer Heat Is a Risk to Diabetes Patients

Survey Shows Many People With Diabetes Aren't Protecting Themselves From High Temperatures

Second Opinion

''This study addresses an interesting and timely question," says Ruchi Mathur, MD, an assistant professor of medicine at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, who reviewed the findings for WebMD.

She points out, however, that most of the respondents did not have well-controlled diabetes and so may not represent the general population of those with diabetes.

''This study does make us aware that further education is needed to provide patients with diabetes the information they need to tackle such extreme weather conditions safely," Mathur says. All patients with diabetes, not just those on insulin, need education about how to handle high temperatures and take care of medication -- whether they use injected insulin or oral medications, she says.

Nassar tells those with diabetes to follow simple steps in the heat to stay healthy, such as:

  • Pay attention to fluid intake before becoming thirsty (with specific instructions from your doctor).
  • Exercise in air-conditioning if possible or if outdoors, late in the evening or early morning when temperatures are lower.
  • Look at the package inserts for medication to determine safe storage temperatures.

 

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If the level is below 70 and you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

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