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Summertime Tips for Managing Diabetes

Summertime fun can make it difficult to stick with your diabetes routine. All those spur-of-the-moment picnics and weekend getaways can wreck your diet and medication schedule. You may be surprised to learn, however, that no matter what your plans are, managing diabetes is often trickier in the summer than at other times of the year.

At Calvary Medical Clinic, with locations in Cleveland, Livingston, and Humble, Texas, our team of expert health care professionals is committed to helping you successfully manage diabetes year-round. We provide ongoing supportive services, including medical care and nutritional counseling for people living with this challenging but highly treatable disease. 

Check out these six tips we’ve put together to help you manage diabetes when the temperatures climb.

1. Check your blood sugar more often

It’s always important to track your blood sugar levels, but your numbers can fluctuate more than normal when temperatures rise. Check your blood sugar before, during, and after physical activity. Even a leisurely stroll on the beach can affect your glucose levels.

Adjust your medications accordingly and call your Calvary Medical Clinic team, or schedule a new patient evaluation, if you’re having problems with erratic blood sugar levels.

2. Drink plenty of water

Adequate hydration is especially significant for people with diabetes. Blood sugar levels rise when you don’t drink enough water. Elevated blood sugar leads to more frequent urination, which worsens the risk of dehydration and complications associated with high blood sugar (hyperglycemia).

Remember that alcohol, coffee, and other caffeinated drinks also cause water loss. Many medications, especially those used for high blood pressure, also act as diuretics, and increase your risk of dehydration. Warning signs of dehydration include dizziness, headache, and rapid heartbeat.

3. Take your medications and supplies along on your trip

Whether you’re planning a week-long adventure or just a day away from home, bring your medications, glucometer, test strips, and other supplies along for the ride. Extreme heat damages testing equipment and renders medications useless. Protect them from direct sunlight and/or high heat and follow package directions for transporting insulin.

4. Check the temperature and the humidity

Because of the damage it causes to blood vessels and nerves, diabetes can decrease your body’s ability to cool itself when it’s hot. This puts you at an increased risk of heat exhaustion/stroke, which is life-threatening. 

Even when the temperature is a reasonable 80 degrees Fahrenheit, high humidity can affect how your body feels the heat. Monitor the heat index, which combines temperature and humidity, and keep in mind that the heat index rises by about 15 degrees in full sunlight.

Schedule outdoor activities for the coolest part of the day (early morning and evening) and spend those hot, sunny afternoons in air-conditioned comfort or in the shade.

5. Put on the sunscreen and don’t forget your hat

Sunburn raises blood sugar levels and makes it difficult to control diabetes. Apply sunscreen liberally, grab a favorite hat, and slip on sunglasses before you head outdoors.

6. Stick with healthy nutrition

Summertime menus can make it difficult for people with diabetes to avoid foods that worsen blood sugar control. Sugary drinks and overly processed foods can quickly wreck your daily carb count. Reach for fresh instead and otherwise stick with portion sizes that satisfy your taste buds without sabotaging your diabetes management.

If you need further support with diabetes management, we’re here to help. Schedule an appointment at one of our Calvary Medical Clinic offices today.   

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