With diabetes, self-management is an elemental portion of the illness. Many people may not realize how in the winter weather, their management needs extra attention. It is vital to understand how the cold conditions outside can affect insulin demand and supply inside the body.
For many people, cold weather elevates how much insulin a person needs. When the temperature reaches extreme peaks, make sure you continually test and monitor the levels of your blood glucose. There are things you can do to help keep your health under control in the cold:
Maintain a healthy weight, especially during the holiday season.
Everyone enjoys gathering for meals during the holidays, but you should stay managing your blood glucose levels while keeping watch over your food intake and weight. Moderation is key. Make sure you enjoy yourself with your loved ones but take breaks from the dinner table. Allow yourself the chance to feel full before you head back for a second helping. Manage your carbohydrate intake as much as possible even though many holiday treats are tempting.
Keep physically active.
You have heard how physical activity positively impacts blood sugar levels. Not only do exercises—even if for only 15 minutes—help with your body’s insulin amounts, they also can improve your overall mood and make you more alert. At home, workouts are a sufficient way to stay active if you have stairs, workout videos or weights. If you want to exercise outdoors, be sure to dress in layers. Perhaps, joining a gym will motivate you more since you will be indoors and away from the chilly temperatures.
Protect your feet from the elements.
It can take time for your body to heal from the complications inadequate blood circulation can cause. If you experience problems with your feet, do not tread too lightly around proper care. Make sure when it snows, or the ground is icy you are wearing sturdy shoes which can protect your feet and keep them dry. Check your feet regularly and keep the skin moisturized.
Try to maintain warm hands. The cold may make it difficult to get an accurate reading on your glucose monitor. If you aren’t already doing so, take a minute to wash your hands with warm water before testing. If you have trouble keeping your hands warm, try wearing gloves with good insulation.
Protect your glucose monitor. In managing diabetes, having a functional device is critical. Most monitors get manufactured to work in temperatures of 50 degrees Fahrenheit or above. So, try not to leave your device in the car or otherwise expose it to freezing temperatures.
Here are a few more things to be cautious of during winter when you have type 2 diabetes:
- Your blood sugar levels get affected by not just temperatures, exercise, and food consumption. How well you are hydrated is essential also. Dehydration can cause diabetic ketoacidosis, which occurs when too many ketones or blood acids get produced because your body cannot make enough insulin. Drink plenty of water and beverages containing electrolytes, especially if you are sweating a great deal.
- Know that coldness strains and stresses the body. As a result, your body could work defensively by producing cortisol and adrenaline hormones which could significantly cause a spike in your blood glucose levels.
- In cold weather, your blood thickens. This response could lead to blood clotting, which can increase blood pressure.
- If you can, avoid getting sick. Flu and colds are virtually inseparable from cold weather. However, getting better from the flu and keeping control of your condition is more difficult for a person with diabetes than a person without the illness. You might want to get the flu vaccine. Other things to do are to wash hands frequently and avoiding people who are sick and touching your face. Hand sanitizers are good to use as well.
Although winter presents a challenge for people with type 2 diabetes, it doesn’t mean that management is impossible. It takes a little more effort and precautions but remaining focused should keep you on track. Mother Nature can be hostile with its cold weather, but you should not let it stop you from maintaining control, taking care of yourself, and staying warm.