With the U.K experiencing soaring temperatures not seen since the summer of 2006, there should be cause for celebration as the BBQ invites begin to gather momentum. Yet, with celebration, there should come a sense of precaution; especially when managing extreme heat and diabetes.
Extreme heat is when temperatures begin to rise above the 80°F (approximately 27°C) mark with 40% humidity or above, as indicated by the national heat index. The higher the humidity percentage, the more difficult perspiration (sweating) becomes. Perspiration is what helps to keep us cool when we experience extreme heat conditions.
However, the Mayo Clinic in Arizona, working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Weather Service, conducted 152 surveys from patients at a Phoenix diabetes clinic. The results from the survey were startling, as 1 in 5 patients claimed that until it was more than 100 degrees, only then, would they begin to take precautions to cope with extreme heat and diabetes.
The dangers of not taking the correct precautions to manage extreme heat and diabetes can lead to a rise in glucose levels. Furthermore, a diabetic can also become rapidly dehydrated leading to the possibility of increased blood sugar levels. Dr. Adrienne Nassar, researcher at the Mayo Clinic, explains "People with diabetes have an impaired ability to sweat, which predisposes them to heat-related illness, as do uncontrolled, high blood sugars."
Furthermore, those at the greatest risk during extreme heat conditions are over 65s and those that suffer from chronic diseases like diabetes. Curtiss B. Cook MD, FACP, professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine stated, "Studies have shown that during heat waves, patients with diabetes have more hospitalizations, more emergency room visits, and higher rates of mortality."
Correct precautions should always be taken when managing extreme heat and even more so in the case of diabetics. Here, we have compiled a list of precautions that one should take in order to manage such extreme heat and diabetes:
By taking these simple and practical steps, you can help ensure that your summer can be spent safely in the heat.