It is true that the weather can impact those who have diabetes and their blood glucose levels can be affected by cold or hot weather. During cold weather, those with diabetes can have higher HbAlc levels than in the summer. As the ice and snow threaten, sugar levels can rise. There are some tips for controlling your diabetes during cold weather.
Follow the tips when diabetes and cold weather come at the same time.
1. Keep Your Insulin and Care Products Out of the Cold
Extreme heat can ruin your meds, so can extreme cold. You should avoid exposing your glucose monitor and insulin pump to temperatures colder than 34 degrees Fahrenheit. If out during cold weather, keep your pump close to your body and cover it to keep it warm. Freezing temperatures can be just as damaging as warm temps, breaking down your insulin and rendering it ineffective.
2. Protect Your Immune System
Winter is the season of sickness and stress; both can cause your blood sugar levels to rise. Speak with your physician about what you should do to help protect yourself and if the flu shot is right for you. Wash your hands often to try to keep germs down. Hand sanitizer may have sugars which will affect your readings if you test after. Be sure to always wash them with soap and water before testing. If you do get sick, follow your health providers advice on sick days.
3. Don’t Guess, Test
Extreme fluctuations in temperature can affect your blood sugar readings. As the seasons pass, pay attention to your CGM. You likely have different schedules and activity levels than other times of the year. If you notice a change, speak with your doctor about adjusting medications accordingly.
4. Keep Your Feet and Hands Warm
How to cope with diabetes and cold weather? When it is cold out, your hands and feet will feel it more. That isn’t all, however. Testing your blood glucose can also be difficult when you have cold hands. Wearing gloves is the simplest way to keep your hands warm when it’s cold. Before testing, make sure your hands are warm by either washing them with warm water, or holding a cup of warm soup.
5. Keep Moving
When it’s cold, it’s easy to sit by the fire bundled up. When your cold, you often don’t want to exercise, especially when the nights are longer. Keep moving, keep relaxed and stay warm. Search out ways to increase your movement. Try to work in extra steps naturally with joining a gym, walking in the mall or getting a membership somewhere with an indoor pool.
6. Don’t Get the Winter Blues
Holidays are stressful and the shorter days often affect our emotions and mood. Eat well, get plenty of exercise and stay busy to help you keep your joy. If you are struggling with depression, speak to a friend or your health care provider to help get it under control.
7. Watch Your Feet
You can get dry and cracked skin in the winter with all the dry air. This is especially true with your feet. This can open the door to infections and wounds. Protect your feet in the snow, rain and blistering temperatures. Apply moisturizer to your feet to insure they stay healthy and inspect them daily. If you see something that isn’t healing speak to your doctor about it.
8. Try to Avoid Winter Weight Gain
Type 2 diabetes care and management can be difficult during the holidays. There are many treats that are simply loaded with sugar and carbs, bad for your glucose levels. Plan meals carefully and keep treats spaced out so you don’t suddenly see the pounds add up. Even small weight gains can make managing diabetes difficult. This is important for dealing with diabetes and cold weather.
9. Monitor Your Diet
If it’s cold, it’s much easier to be tempted to snack on comfort food loaded with carbs. The body naturally seeks more calories when it is cold and it can be difficult to fight this. Be vigilant and select healthy snacks and foods. Select fruits and nuts, avoid processed foods and stick to healthy snacks. You will also want to watch carbohydrates, because they have a direct impact on blood sugar.
10. Drink Lots of Fluids
When you go from the cold outdoors to indoor heating, you risk being dehydrated. Dehydration can raise your blood sugar as well as cause dry eyes and skin. Get lots of water and use moisturizer that is alcohol-free during the winter months.
11. Keep Checking on the Aged
How to cope with diabetes and cold weather? Our senior citizens are most susceptible to the changing seasons and cold weather. They have a harder time regulating the body temperature because they have less subcutaneous fat. If you know a senior citizen who lives alone, please check on them. It is the best holiday gift you can give.