The Sun and Diabetes

sun and diabetesDiabetes research continues to turn up new information on the importance of self-management. Diabetes is a chronic disease that one has for a lifetime due to high levels of sugar in the bloodstream. Diabetes is typically associated with too little insulin or a resistance to insulin. Insulin is a particular hormone that the pancreas creates to control glucose levels in the body. Research performed by the Mayo Clinic in September of 2010 stated the importance of heat awareness for diabetes, thereby drawing on a possible link between the sun and diabetes.

A lack of awareness about anything for a diabetic can be detrimental. This is why it is important for the diabetic to take the necessary precautions against heat rather than risking exposure to excessive heat levels. The Mayo Clinic study was performed in Arizona and at a time when the temperature levels were exceptionally high.

Sweating is an imperative way the body cools down in the heat and the utility of sweat is important to diabetes. Studies have shown that when diabetics are exposed to excessive heat, they are more prone to visits to emergency rooms. It is key, then, that the diabetic drinks a significant amount of water should they decide to venture out in hot weather. There are some tips to consider for the diabetic if they are heading out into high temperatures on a regular basis such as:

1. Avoid sunburn – it may be nice to feel the heat on one’s body, but sunburn can stress out the body and raise blood glucose levels. Getting a good pair of sunglasses and an effective sunscreen are recommended.

2. Wear a hat – in addition the sunglasses and sunscreen, wearing something protective on one’s head is suggested to keep the rays from beating down on you.

3. Carry a bottle of water with you on walks, etc. – water helps the body avoid being dehydrated. A diabetic does not want to become dehydrated, especially in hot, high temperatures.

4. Exercise in the early or later hours of the day – this is important because diabetics are

suggested to incorporate exercise into their daily routine. By exercising in the early or later hours of the day, excessive sun exposure can be potentially thwarted.

5. Check blood sugar levels frequently – monitoring glucose levels is another key measure for a diabetic so they understand where they are at any given moment throughout the day to avoid overdoing it.

6. Temperature does change – as much as we’d like to think that the temperature cannot fluctuate, it does. Temperature changes have an immediate effect on the diabetic. Extreme temperatures can have dramatic effects on diabetes supplies, so it is important to keep them in a place where they cannot be destroyed if venturing out in hot temperatures.

In cases of extreme heat, it is suggested to choose an indoor place that is air-conditioned, to not walk barefoot, to watch for potential heat exhaustion signs, and to avoid any forms of beverages that have high levels of caffeine – or any caffeine in them to begin with – because they have the tendency to dehydrate the body.

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