Extreme heat has drastic effect on diabetics

Diabetics warned to stay safe in heat. / Jessica Fairley

The heat affects many people in different ways and doctors say it can have a drastic effect on those living with diabetes.

Like anyone else who has to brave the heat, diabetics are asked to make sure they keep hydrated. Doctors say if their blood sugar gets too low it can cause dehydration at a faster rate.

"They need to make sure they are drinking plenty of fluids, also checking their blood glucose regularly," said Palmyra Diabetes Treatment Center Nurse Educator Daphne Courts.

"Checking your blood sugar is very important because with the extra energy that your body has to use to stay cool, your blood sugar may go down more than it normally would," said Southeast Regional Chief Medical Officer Cathy Palmier.

Cathy Palmier works for United Healthcare of Georgia. She says people with diabetes have a nervous system that often malfunctions and causes an impaired sweating ability. Palmier states that this can be a problem when temperatures rise.

"That causes them to not be able to sweat and respond to the heat like someone who doesn't have diabetes," said Dr. Cathy Palmier.

Daphne Courts says southwest Georgia has a large number of people living with diabetes and many don't even know it. She says many rely on medication but don't know that extreme heat can change its chemical makeup.

"Anything above 86 degrees could damage them," said nurse Daphne Courts.

Nurses at the Palmyra Diabetes Treatment Center say during extreme heat people with diabetes need to be very careful of how they treat their medication. They say one of the best devices to have is a Frio case. The Frio case protects the medication for up to 45 hours by using crystals to keep it cool.

Dr. Cathy Palmier says diabetics should keep a few tips in mind like wearing at least a shot glass of sunscreen while out in the sun, avoiding peak hours of the day, and eliminating alcohol because it can increase the rate of dehydration.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off