Colder temperatures can have a negative impact on diabetes management for a number of reasons. Patients with diabetes should be aware of the problems that cold weather poses to their blood glucose levels. Below are six risks of how colder weather can negatively affect blood glucose levels and tips on how to manage them.
Colder Temperatures Affect the Body
In colder temperatures, the body reacts by releasing hormones to keep itself warm. These hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, can cause increased blood sugar levels. Colder weather also decreases blood flow and blood oxygen levels, which affects the accuracy of blood glucose monitoring supplies.
Patients with diabetes should be encouraged to stay warm and avoid extremely cold temperatures. If patients must be exposed to colder temperatures, they should limit their exposure and wear layers when outdoors.
Stay Warm and Stay Active
Exercise is especially necessary for the colder months because it helps to lower blood sugar, helps the body use insulin better, and warms the body. Exercise is also known to improve patients’ moods.
While cold weather limits physical activity, patients with diabetes can find other ways to get active. Patients can exercise at their local gyms, try yoga, or play dancing video games, such as Dance Revolution. Outdoor options include shoveling snow, ice skating, and sledding. The goal is to get the body moving.
Avoid Getting Sick
Patients with diabetes are at additional risk of colds and the flu during the winter months. Being sick stresses the body, which increases blood sugar and can make medications less effective.
Vaccination against the flu, frequent hand-washing with soap, and healthy eating can reduce the chances of catching the flu or a cold. If a patient does catch a cold or the flu, attention should be placed on monitoring blood sugar levels, staying hydrated, and treating the symptoms of the cold with appropriate medications.
Patients with diabetes are at risk of Raynaud’s phenomenon, an autoimmune condition that causes numbness and nerve pain in the extremities.
Since it is usually brought on by cold weather and stress, patients with diabetes should wear warm gloves or mittens, socks, and well-fitted waterproof shoes. They should also inspect their feet daily for cuts, dry skin, or other abnormalities that do not heal.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
The winter months coincide with the holidays, which tend to offer foods heavy in carbohydrates and sugar. These foods can directly impact blood sugar and cause weight gain that results in complications for patients with diabetes, such as increased blood pressure.
Patients should be encouraged to participate in holiday feasts in moderation, maintain healthy eating habits, and regularly monitor blood glucose levels.
Protect Diabetes Supplies
Blood glucose monitors and strips, as well as insulin, need to be kept at specific temperatures to be effective. Extremely low temperatures can prevent accurate readings or cause supplies to stop working.
Diabetes supplies and medications should be stored properly at the right temperature and never be left in a car, regardless of the temperature.
Managing these risks can help patients live healthy, fulfilling lives during the winter months. Learn more information about how the Eversense® 90-Day CGM System can help.
For an overview of Eversense® Continuous Glucose Monitoring system safety information, please visit www.ascensiadiabetes.com/Eversense/safety-info/. Please visit www.ascensiadiabetes.com/Eversense for limitations, restrictions, references, and copyright information.