The findings of “Diabetes in the Desert:What Do Patients Know About Heat?”, will be introduced Monday, at The Endocrine Society’s 92nd Annual Meeting in San Diego, California. The new survey shows diabetic persons who reside in hot climates have major rift in heat awareness or the insight about suitable self care in hot weather. Diabetes increases the chances of heat illness.
The Mayo Clinic in Arizona along in participation with National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration and the National Weather Service, researchers assessed patients at a Phoenix diabetic clinic and evaluated 152 surveys. Feedback indicated persons living with diabetes in hot climates need extended information of how heat affects their disease, stated by Adrienne Nassar M.D., third year medical resident at the Mayo Clinic.
Dr. Nassar went on to state that person with diabetes have a diminished ability to sweat which exposes them to heat related illness, along with uncontrolled high blood sugars. A lot of the patients who were surveyed had suboptimal glycemic control during the summer, in which could increase risk of dehydration.
Previous research has indicated that in hot weather persons with diabetes have additional visits to the emergency room, hospitalizations and even death due to heat illness.
However, one in five persons indicated that they would not any precautions until the temperature had passed 100 degrees. Heat illness can occur at 80 to 90 degrees with the heat index added in.
Fifty percent of the patients were aware of the meaning of the heat index combination of air temperatures and humidity. High humidity creates heat to be more dangerous due to the fact it slows down the evaporation of perspiration, the cooling system of the body.
Heat can also damage the efficiency of diabetes medications and supplies. Oral medications along with insulin have a therapeutic temperature range above where they will lose efficiency. The drugs packet inserts gives information about the proper temperatures for storage.
Despite the fact that 73 percent of respondents did receive information about the damaging reaction of heat on insulin, less were aware about the negative effects of heat on oral medications (39%) and on glucose meters (41%) and on glucose test strips (38%).
In spite of survey respondents knowing they should protect their diabetic medications and testing supplies from the heat, a large number (37%) chose to keep them at home rather ran risk heat exposure.
According to Dr. Nassar if diabetics can not check their blood sugar levels when they are not at home it is unsafe. Additionally more persons with diabetes reside in places known for hot weather. Patient education concentrating on diabetes management in hot climates is warranted.
Tips for persons with diabetes in hot weather
Keep dehydrated by drinking a lot of fluids such as water, lemonade, sugar free ice tea.
Beware of heat exhaustion signs such as feeling dizzy, faint, sweating excessively, muscle cramping, skin cold or clammy, rapid heart beat and nausea. Go to a cooler place and drink fluids and contact your health care practitioner.
Exercise in cool places such as air conditioned gyms or early or late evening when temperatures may become moderate.
Blood glucose levels should be checked at least four times each day or more if you are not feeling well.
Store meter, strips, insulin in cool dry places. Never place insulin in freezer, in direct sunlight or glove compartment of car.
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