Tag Archives: summer

Diabetes in the summer heat.

I don’t believe I’ve ever written anything like this before. But, since we reached the summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere last week, I think I’ll take a moment to talk about warm weather and diabetes, which don’t always mix well.

To begin with, did you know that People With Diabetes have a harder time regulating their temperatures in the heat than others do? According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stresses on blood vessels and nerves can affect sweat glands, keeping us from cooling effectively.

We also get dehydrated easier. And if you’re an insulin user like me, temperatures north of 90° Fahrenheit change how we use that insulin.

Humidity is a factor too. Another thing I found out is that humidity keeps us from cooling because the sweat we do produce can’t really dry when it’s humid, and the drying is part of what helps us cool off.

Some of the things we should be doing to take care of ourselves at this time of year are summer no-brainers: drink lots of water, don’t go on a bender in the sun, wear loose, comfortable clothing… the usual.

But some other things are really important to remember for our diabetes. Like how insulin is affected by temperatures over 80°F. You don’t want the insulin in your pump skunked because you were working in the yard all day in the hot sun.

That’s why, on hot days, I take breaks more often than I might in the spring or autumn. I go inside. I cool off. I rehydrate. I make sure the insulin in my pump cools off too.

Here’s something else: plan for emergencies. We lost power at home for a little over 24 hours last week, when daytime thermometer readings were well into the 90s. If the outage would have lasted 24 more, I would have needed to go to my emergency plan for storing insulin: a cooler full of ice, my insulin vials in a plastic bag, wrapped in a thick towel. That will keep it cool enough without freezing it.

If you’re traveling or just out for the day, I suggest using a simple lunch cooler, with a gel pack or something similar inside, that will keep your insulin cool. Remember to wrap the insulin in something like a towel… you want to keep it cool, not frozen. If we’re just out for the day, I might freeze a bottle of water overnight and use that as my cooling agent. Once it’s melted, I can have it to drink on the way home.

Don’t forget that heat affects glucose monitors and test strips, and CGMs too. It’s also worth remembering that when you get into your car on a hot day, the extreme temps that exist in the short time before your A/C kicks in can mess up your pump and the insulin in it pretty fast.

That’s my summer diabetes sense two cents. I’m sure you probably have your own tips and tricks for dealing with diabetes in the summer. Feel free to add yours in the comments below.

Happy Summer!

8 Things: Summer Edition.

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted an 8 things list. Today, here is a list of things that are part of my world this summer:
1. Insulin worries. Every summer, it seems that every high number comes with a “Did my insulin get skunked in the heat?” question. Remember that insulin is best when stored and used at under 80 degrees. Anything above that and you’re playing with fire. Or potentially compromised insulin, which no one wants, especially in the heat.

2. Low BG/sweating worries. This is the flip side of the high number questioning. Since it can be so warm where I live (Maryland– nearly at sea level)… how can I say this? If I’m sweating, which can be often, the questions are: Am I low? Or am I just sweating? These questions are of particular concern when I’m operating potentially dangerous machinery, like when I’m driving or mowing the lawn.

3. Eating… better. How about something a little nicer? As in, fresh fruits and vegetables. So good, and so good for us. If I’m ever in danger of overdoing it on veggies, it’s at this time of year. Nothing wrong with that.

4. More exercise(?) It’s been a good summer in Baltimore weather-wise. Oh sure, we’ve had our share of stifling heat, muggy days with lots of humidity. But we’ve also had an occasional cool spell, where the high dips into the low 80s with less humidity. Those days are golden in the summer, and though (because of my knee) I haven’t been able to do bike rides or go for runs outside, I have been able to do a few extra walks here and there. Right now, those are golden too.

5. More controversy. Thanks to the CrossFit issue, People With Diabetes had more to feel stigma over, more to respond to, and yes, more ways to examine how we react to controversial statements about diabetes by ignorant individuals. I’m very glad that the Diabetes Online Community was quick to react to the shameful postings of CrossFit and their CEO. I just wish that some of those reactions were more inclusive of all People With Diabetes, instead of just saying “Sugar didn’t cause my type of diabetes”. Also…

6. Second hand news, second hand blues. Friends for Life… MasterLab… ADA Scientific Sessions…. and now the AADE convention this week. I haven’t been able to get to any of them this year. So all the news I’m getting from these events is second hand. Good thing the people that are giving me the updates from these gatherings are pretty good at reporting in the first place, or I might be totally in the dark.

7. Travel….? Travel? Really? See #4 above. Are you kidding? Travel? Good thing I was going places early in the year, because I’m not going anywhere right now. Mostly, it has to do with work. I’m needed right now, this year more than most years, so that’s put a crimp in the travel plans for a while. We did get away to Charlottesville a couple of weeks ago, but really, a day and a half extra doesn’t exactly a vacation make. I’m headed back to New Jersey next week, for training for my job. This year is a lot about what is needed, and not a lot about what is wanted.

8. One visit with the endocrinologist. My next appointment with the endo is in another couple of weeks, and I’ll be interested to find out how surgery and my lack of movement has affected my hemoglobin A1c. My last number was at an even 7.0, and I had been significantly under that for a while. Our goal was to bring it up from where it was, so 7.0 is not so bad. But I certainly don’t want to be any higher. To me, that would feel like a huge fail.
So there you have it. Eight ways that diabetes has factored into my life this summer. I hope your summer has been grand. How has diabetes fit into your life this year?

Dog Days of Summer.

I’ve been looking back at my posts in the last few weeks, and it seems that since Diabetes Blog Week the posts have been less frequent. Writers block? Not likely. Not in this kind of forum anyway. I mean, who among us doesn’t like to talk about themselves?

More likely, the culprit is the fact that summer is the busiest time of year for me.

Certainly work is busiest during the summer. It’s the busiest time of year in the group I work in. So much so that getting time off in June, July, or August is nearly impossible. And since the company I work for has downsized in the past couple of years, they really are relying on me this year. And my company has a strict no-posting-to-social-media-of-any-kind-during-the-workday policy. That already limits the amount of time I can spend writing and commenting. Add in extra tasks and staying late to meet deadlines, and my blog time is limited even more.

Another reason is the athletic events that I enter each year. Many of those are during the summer, and that means extra time at the gym. Good for my body, but it doesn’t add to the blogosphere.

Also (and this is the really good part), I was in a class the last few weeks. It’s one of the classes held by the theater that Maureen and I subscribe to each year. It’s an Improv class, taught by one of the theater’s resident actors, and he’s one of our favorites. I can’t tell you how much I stepped outside of my comfort zone in this class. When I wrote earlier about depression and whatever it was I was feeling at the end of last year/beginning of this year, this part was step two in my process of feeling better.

Know what? I really loved this class. I can’t say I’m gifted at improv, but I like the idea of trying something new, focusing on something different. And my classmates were great. Everyone was extremely supportive of everyone else in the class. The time flew by, and we couldn’t wait until the next session. Kind of like the weekly DSMA Chat.

So you can see why I’ve been so busy. Just for the record, I have no intention of giving up the writing, at least for now. Even without a blog, I would still write all the time.

Besides, I’m not nearly as busy as my fellow DOC bloggers who have kids. I have no idea how they do it. I admire them. And I’m a bit jealous too. But that’s a different subject. And I’m too busy to write about that right now.

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