Sunday, August 1, 2010

Diabetics and Summer Heat

Elderly people are at particular risk, but people of all ages with diabetes should be aware of summertime dangers. These include dehydration, heat exhaustion, and foot problems.

Diabetes and Dehydration

Everyone, regardless of their health status, should make sure they drink enough fluids during the summer. People with type 2 diabetes, however, face an additional challenge because when their blood sugar levels are too high, they may be passing more urine than usual — which means they are losing fluids more quickly. Add sweating into the mix and you have a recipe for speedy fluid loss. Certain medications, such as metformin (Glucophage), also increase the risk of dehydration.

If you are out and about on a hot summer day, make sure you have enough of these beverages on hand to stay hydrated:

* Water or seltzer
* Sugar-free lemonade or other drinks

Also, avoid alcohol and caffeine. Alcohol and caffeinated drinks are usually okay in moderation — but too much of either one can cause you to lose more fluids. And remember to bring along snacks in case your blood sugar drops.

If you’re going to be outside, be alert to these symptoms of heat exhaustion:

* Dizziness
* Fainting or near-fainting
* Sweating to excess
* Muscle cramping
* Cold, clammy skin
* Headaches
* Rapid heartbeat

During heat waves and periods of high heat, find air-conditioned places to stay if you do not have central AC or AC in a room at home. Fans can also help.

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