Daily Health

Summer Sugar High

summer sugar high ice cream diabetes in the heat tips

Main Article Content

6 Tips to Manage Diabetes in the Heat

If you have diabetes, risk of complications can increase in the summer heat, but don’t let dehydration slow you down. Learn what your body can handle and monitor yourself so you can enjoy the sun all summer long.

1. Stay Hydrated

Heat can lead to elevated blood glucose levels, which naturally cause dehydration. The best method to fight dehydration is to consume caffeine-free drinks. Caffeine acts as a diuretic, meaning it causes you to use the bathroom more than usual and can result in dehydration. Stick to water, seltzer and other sugar-free beverages.

2. Know the Signs

Symptoms of heat exhaustion are similar to low blood sugar and should be monitored closely in the summer heat. These symptoms include sweating, muscle cramps, light-headedness, shakiness and confusion. The American Diabetes Association recommends these healthy snacks to take on the go to help prevent any complications.

3. Watch Your Levels

You should test your blood sugar level at least four times a day, and even more frequently if you’re noticing symptoms of exhaustion. Always carry snacks and water.

4. Time Your Exercise

The mid-day sun is not going to help keep glucose levels and hydration steady. To avoid serious dehydration, exercise in the early morning or late evening, or in an air-conditioned gym.

5. Store Medications Safely

Extreme temperature can cause insulin and other drugs to deteriorate, and it can affect your blood glucose meter and strips, too. If possible, store your medications in a fridge or in a cooler with an ice pack; just remember not to place medications directly on ice.

6. Protect Your Skin

Sunburn can also lead to increased blood sugar levels. When gearing up to spend the day in the heat, pack sunscreen and apply thoroughly throughout the day to reduce your risk.

When you’re cautious, mindful and aware of your symptoms, you can overcome the obstacles of the summer heat and enjoy your fun in the sun.

Interested in hearing more from Northwestern Medicine? Sign up for the Healthy Tips E‑Newsletter for everything from health and wellness ideas to patient breakthroughs to academic and medical advancements.