Diabetes: Hot weather could damage medicated insulin – heed caution

Diabetes UK show how to test feet for diabetic feet sensitivity

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Type two diabetes typically dominates the diabetes agenda as it accounts for 90 percent of cases in the UK.

As the temperature begins to rise further as the UK enters the warmest time of the year, charities are warning those with diabetes to be aware that their condition will require careful management.

Diabetes UK said: “Sitting in the sun for long periods can affect your diabetes because you’re not being very active, making blood sugar levels higher than usual.

“On the flip side, if you take insulin to treat your diabetes it will be absorbed more quickly from the injection site in warm weather, and this increases the risk of hypos.”

Hypos occur when blood sugar levels drop perilously low.

Early signs of a hypo include:
• Sweating
• Tiredness
• Hunger
• Tingly lips
• A fast heartbeat
• Turning pale.

Despite the increased risk faced by the warmer temperatures, Diabetes UK say this doesn’t mean diabetics can’t still enjoy the warmer weather; they are just advising people to be careful.

They advise diabetics to check their blood sugar levels more often than usual to be on the safe side.

They added: “Be ready to adjust your diet or insulin dose if you take insulin.

“If you plan on being active in the sun, like going for a swim, eat some extra carbohydrate at your meal or as an extra snack.”

Furthermore, Diabetes UK recommends diabetics should: “Keep something sugary to hand too, just in case.”

As well as watching what they consume and how often they measure their blood sugar levels, Diabetes UK also recommends taking care with how crucial insulin is stored.

On this they said: “If you take insulin to treat your diabetes, keep a close eye on how you store it.

“If your blood sugar levels are consistently higher than expected, it’s worth considering whether your insulin could have been damaged in the sun.”

Insulin is best stored in a fridge or kept in a cool bag.

Charities say insulin can become damaged by the heat; when this occurs the insulin will become “cloudy and cloudy insulin becomes grainy and sticks in the side of the glass”.

Furthermore, if the insulin has turned a brownish colour, it should not be used.

If any diabetic is uncertain, it is suggested they contact their GP or a medical professional.

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