7 Tips for People with Diabetes to Avoid Heat-Related Summertime Illnesses
Source: UnitedHealth Group`s Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance Press Rel
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As temperatures continue to rise this summer and many people head outdoors to the beach or parks, UnitedHealth Group`s Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance (DPCA) wants to alert the nearly 24 million Americans diagnosed with diabetes that they have a higher risk of developing serious, heat-related illnesses.

"While summer can be a great time to get in shape and enjoy the outdoors, individuals with diabetes should take extra measures to avoid serious, heat-related illness"

A recent study from the Mayo Clinic found that one in five people with diabetes does not take preventive measures to deal with the heat until temperatures reach 100 degrees – which is often too late to avoid serious complications.

"While summer can be a great time to get in shape and enjoy the outdoors, individuals with diabetes should take extra measures to avoid serious, heat-related illness," said Deneen Vojta, M.D., senior vice president of the UnitedHealth Center for Health Reform and Modernization and co-creator of the DPCA. "Because diabetes can impair a person`s ability to sweat, hot, humid weather can dangerously reduce the body`s capacity to regulate blood sugar levels. It is critical that people with this disease take proper precautions to avoid potentially life-threatening conditions like heat exhaustion and heat stroke."

To avoid these serious heat-related illnesses, the DPCA advises people with diabetes to take these seven precautions:

1. Check your blood sugar levels often. Many people tend to be more active in the summer months, and changes in activity and heat levels can affect your body`s insulin needs.

2. Avoid sunburn. Wear plenty of sun block to avoid sunburn, which can tax your body and cause blood glucose levels to rise.

3. Stay hydrated. It is important to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration, which will place further stress on your body and affect glucose levels.

4. Stay cool. If possible, take breaks from the heat in air-conditioned areas or designated cooling centers. Make sure to exercise in an air-conditioned place.

5. Avoid caffeine and alcohol in high temperatures. Both alcohol and caffeine can increase the risk of dehydration for people with diabetes.

6. Keep medication and supplies as cool as possible, and away from direct sunlight. Extreme temperatures can cause insulin and other supplies to break down or become less potent.

7. Be alert for signs of heat exhaustion. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists these signals as common signs of heat exhaustion: heavy sweating; paleness; muscle cramps; tiredness; weakness; dizziness; headache; nausea or vomiting; and/or fainting. If you or someone you know who has diabetes experiences any of these symptoms, seek medical attention right away.

 

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Originally posted by DiabetesCare.net on August 11, 2010.