Being Prepared: How Your Environment Can Affect Your Glucose

Did that one thing as seemingly unrelated to diabetes as getting a sunburn can really affect your glucose? Various environmental components can have an effect on your glucose ranges and how one can successfully put together to spend time outdoor.

Spending time outdoor, whether or not for train, journey, or simply to get recent air, is without doubt one of the finest issues you are able to do to take care of constructive bodily and psychological well being. Whether you like the seaside, are an avid skier or hiker, or simply need to spend time outdoors, figuring out how your glucose is affected by your surroundings is essential for staying protected and wholesome. These components may also pose challenges to storing your medical provides and drugs – preserving them protected and efficient.

Here we talk about three completely different environmental components that may have an effect on your glucose ranges:

  • Outside temperature
  • Exposure to the solar’s UV rays
  • Being at excessive altitude

“People typically pay little attention to how the environment can affect their glucose, medications, and supplies,” stated Dr. Kenneth Rodriguez, an endocrinology and diabetes specialist in Orlando, Florida. “There needs to be more awareness about these details and the simple fact that all these factors can affect glucose in the first place.”

Our our bodies reply to the environment in numerous methods with adjustments in glucose ranges. How then does temperatures, sunburns, or elevation adjustments have an effect on your diabetes administration and how one can all the time be ready to take pleasure in outside actions?

Outside Temperature

Managing your diabetes in scorching or chilly climate can current distinctive challenges. Not solely can the encircling temperature have an effect on your glucose ranges, however it might probably additionally harm your insulin and testing tools. In excessive warmth, your physique produces extra sweat, which might result in dehydration. Dehydration has the potential to trigger greater glucose ranges as a result of there may be much less water within the blood stream and likewise could cause your physique to launch stress hormones (like cortisol) that inform your cells to launch glucose. When you may have excessive glucose ranges, your physique will then reply by urinating extra, additional contributing to this harmful dehydration cycle.

Exposure to excessive warmth may also trigger the temperature of your insulin to raise and lose exercise (making it much less efficient); this will change the colour or texture of the insulin in some instances. In excessive instances, warmth publicity might even harm your blood glucose meter (BGM), check strips, or different medicines. If you propose to spend time outdoors on a scorching day, make sure to retailer your provides in a cooler, away from direct daylight or excessive temperatures. Staying hydrated and checking your glucose ranges repeatedly may also show you how to keep away from fluctuations.

On the opposite hand, chilly climate may also affect your insulin and BGM. If your insulin freezes, it’s ruined, and intensely chilly temperatures could cause your BGM to cease working. Being in colder temperatures and getting too chilly may also enhance your danger for hypoglycemia, as your physique is utilizing further glucose in an try to remain heat (that is very true if you’re shivering, and your physique is attempting to generate warmth).

Not solely that, however temperature may also have an effect on your physique’s capacity to soak up insulin into the blood stream.

“Temperatures outside can affect when you should give yourself a bolus of insulin, in terms of how quickly your body will absorb it,” stated Dr. Rodriguez. “When you are hot, your blood vessels near the surface of your skin expand, and you will absorb insulin much faster. When in cold temperatures, the opposite will occur, and bolus action can be delayed, potentially causing glucose to go higher temporarily [if you don’t time your dosing correctly].”

If you enterprise out into the chilly, maintain your insulin and glucose monitoring provides near your pores and skin, or in a heat, insulated container. Additionally, put on gloves and heat your arms previous to checking your glucose to make sure that you may have sufficient blood circulation to get an correct studying.

Sun Exposure

For individuals with diabetes, the detrimental results of a nasty sunburn could be particularly vital. When you get a critical sunburn, your physique releases a hormone referred to as cortisol – often known as the “stress” hormone – which might stimulate your liver to make glucose and enhance insulin resistance.

The most evident and efficient solution to keep away from this? Apply sunscreen! Also, put on hats and garments with UV resistance.

“I advise my patients to wear sunscreen, reapply every two hours, wear UV rated sunglasses, loose and light-colored clothing, and stay hydrated,” stated Dr. Rodriguez. If you do get a nasty burn, there are steps you may take to mitigate the results, he defined, corresponding to staying hydrated and treating it with aloe vera.

It can also be essential to pay attention to any unwanted side effects of your medicines that may trigger elevated pores and skin sensitivity towards sunburn as properly. According to Dr. Rodriguez, “Sulfonylureas [a glucose-lowering medication typically used for people with type 2 diabetes] can cause increased sensitivity to the sun, so people taking different medications should be aware about any warning labels or side effects.”

High Altitude

For these visiting excessive altitudes, and those that take pleasure in alpine actions like snowboarding or climbing, it’s essential to know the way your physique responds to elevation. As anybody who has traveled to excessive altitude is aware of, altitude illness could cause vital discomfort within the type of shortness of breath, nausea, exhaustion, and a rise in coronary heart price.

These signs will also be brought on by hypoglycemia, so make sure to examine your glucose repeatedly to determine the supply of those signs. This response to altitude may also end in dehydration and cortisol launch, placing you at the next danger for hyperglycemia.

“In terms of symptoms, it is hard to tell the difference between altitude sickness and hypoglycemia,” stated Dr. Rodriguez. “I recommend the same thing for when my patients encounter hot weather – check your glucose more frequently. If you feel any symptoms, check just in case to make sure [your glucose level] isn’t causing the problem.”

For those that have entry to at least one, carrying a steady glucose monitor (CGM) and getting actual time glucose knowledge will help. In addition, chances are you’ll think about altering your CGM setting so that you’re alerted earlier to regarding adjustments in your glucose.

In very excessive instances, chilly climate and altitude may have an effect on the operation of insulin tools. Though it’s uncommon, as you journey to or from “High altitude, [it] may make some insulin pumps deliver more insulin [than intended by the user] due to the pressure change,” stated Dr. Rodriguez. “Different pumps and meters will usually state how much altitude change they can withstand, so the user should take this information into account.” Check your units person information to see if there may be an altitude restrict.

One remaining be aware is that so as to flow into your blood and ship oxygen to your physique at excessive altitude, chances are you’ll enhance the work required for respiratory. This can lead you to utilizing extra power (and thus glucose), leading to hypoglycemia. When touring to a high-altitude area, make sure to keep hydrated and speak along with your healthcare supplier about any essential insulin dosing changes that must be made.

To study extra about managing diabetes within the outdoor, try Justine Szafran’s article, “Off-the-Grid with Diabetes: Hiking and Backpacking in the Wilderness.” And for extra data on staying protected throughout excessive conditions or pure disasters the place chances are you’ll be uncovered to excessive warmth or chilly, learn “Be Prepared: Surviving Natural Disasters with Diabetes.”

Read concerning the different components in Adam Brown’s, “42 Factors that Affect Blood Glucose,” right here and obtain a free copy of his ebook, “Bright Spots and Landmines: The Diabetes Guide I Wish Someone Had Handed Me.”