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How Does the Heat Affect Diabetics?

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Whether it involves outdoors activities or simply catching a few rays, being out in the sun is something so many of us enjoy. And since this is the best way to load up on essential vitamin D, it's even healthy, as long as we don't overdo it. Even people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes can absorb some sun. They just need to be aware of certain things when they do.

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Heat Stroke. People with diabetes need to be careful in the sun since they are prone to suffering heat stroke or sun stroke, much more easily than non-diabetics. Why? Because having diabetes affects the way blood vessels of the skin dilate. This means the amount of blood needed in the skin to dissipate a buildup of heat is greatly diminished. As a result, skin is not able to cool off as easily as it should, resulting in heat stroke.

No Perspiration. Another way heat stroke is accelerated is through lack of sweating or perspiring, or in the case of people with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, the inability to perspire properly. Since perspiring is the way our bodies are designed to cool themselves off, anything interfering with that process can create a dangerous scenario.

One way perspiration can be dramatically impacted is due to neuropathy. When your nerves are damaged, then your sweat rate is reduced.

Dehydration. A common problem associated with the heat is dehydration. The problem is by the time a person with diabetes feels thirsty they are already considered to be in a mild sate of dehydration. While dehydration, in and of itself is dangerous, becoming dehydrated and having diabetes is even worse.

Blood Sugar Levels. Diabetics also need to be aware they need to check their blood sugar levels more frequently when it is hot or if they are out in the sun. The heat takes a very quick toll on their body's energy needs and can deplete their body's fuel supply much more quickly than they may anticipate. A good rule of thumb for anyone with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes is to monitor their blood sugar at least four times per day during the hot times of the year.

So, if you are planning to be out in the heat, make sure you have plenty of cool water on hand at all times. It is also best to stay away from caffeine drinks since caffeine acts as a diuretic. Also, don't forget to include diabetic-friendly foods and snacks to cover you throughout the day. Sun screen is also needed to keep your skin temperature down as much as possible.

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Type 2 diabetes is no longer a condition you must just live with. It need not slowly and inevitably get worse. Now is the time to take control of the disease...

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The answer isn't in the endless volumes of available information but in yourself.

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