As the seasons change, most of us are exposed to extreme temperatures of one variety or another. Whether you're sweating or shivering, you should always take precautions to avoid temperature-related blood sugar spikes.
When temperatures start to get out of control, so can your blood sugar. Both hot and cold weather extremes can affect your testing equipment and your medications, and have a negative impact on your body’s ability to produce and use insulin.
As summer ends, and we move toward the freezing winter temps that many of us have to deal with, it’s important to take a few easy steps to make sure your diabetes care plan is winter-proofed. Freezing temps and inclement weather can make it more challenging to stay on top of diabetes. Here’s what to watch for during the colder months:
Keep your supplies out of the cold. Just like extreme heat, extreme cold can affect your insulin and cause your glucose monitor to stop working. Don’t leave supplies in a car when temperatures outside are below freezing.
Do your best to avoid getting sick. Winter is cold and flu season. When you’re sick, you’re stressed, and being under stress can raise your blood sugar. When you don’t feel good, you’re likely to not eat properly. Wash your hands with soap and water often so that you don’t spread germs. Also, be sure to get vaccinated against the flu.
Avoid packing on the pounds. Managing type 2 diabetes during the holidays can be tricky. Many seasonal treats are loaded with carbohydrates that cause your blood sugar to rise. Plan your meals and pace your special treats so that you don’t greet next spring a few pounds heavier. Even a small weight gain makes it more difficult to control your diabetes and blood sugar levels.
Keep an eye on your feet. Diabetes can cause a loss of feeling in your toes and feet. Protect them with the right winter footwear, especially in snow. We recommend our Trail Boot or Trail Walker. Apply moisturizer to your feet to keep your skin healthy. Inspect them regularly, and if you notice an injury that doesn’t heal, seek medical attention immediately. Don’t wait!
Warm your hands. If your hands are cold, you may have to warm them up to get a good blood sugar reading. Wash them in warm water before testing. Your meter will work best when it’s kept in a room where the temperature is between 50 and 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
Don’t skip your workouts. It can be hard to get motivated to exercise in winter. Nonetheless, exercise is an important part of keeping blood sugar in check. It helps if you dress in layers when you’re exercising outdoors in the cold. Or, join a gym where you can work out indoors. You can also work in exercise at home by taking the stairs, lifting weights, and exercising to videos.