Summer survival guide for Diabetics

The season can give diabetics, skin and foot infections, bad breath and excessive sweating. Here's how they can avoid these and breeze through the months
The heat wave is damaging enough for anybody, but if you're diabetic then you need to be twice as cautious. Diabetologist Sonali Patange says, "The metabolic rate among diabetics is high because of which they sweat a lot and feel constantly hungry. This gets aggravated in the summer. But if they take a few precautionary measures, they can breeze through the excruciating heat."

People suffering from uncontrolled diabetes are easily susceptible to various skin infections such as carbuncles, boils, abscesses, furuncles, which range in severity. Patange says, "Also, because of excessive sweating, most diabetic men tend to develop candidiasis around their groin. Women, on the other hand, are prone to urinary tract infection."

But these skin issues can be nipped in the bud by taking simple precautionary measures. Take a bath twice a day as it can prevent bacteria from growing on the skin. Avoid synthetic clothing and stick to only lose breathable cotton clothes. "But most importantly, maintain proper blood glucose level through diet, exercise and correct medication. People with uncontrolled diabetes can even catch respiratory infection very easily," says Patange.

Foot care
Those with long-standing diabetes mellitus are predisposed to foot injury, ulceration and infection because they have poor glycaemic control, especially in adverse temperatures (extreme cold or heat). So diabetics must pay special attention to their feet and beware of developing interdigital foot infection or cellulite. Patange says, "Air your legs as much as you can and always ensure that you wash your feet, dry and regularly examine them."

As diabetes leads to an increase in the body's excretion of urine when blood sugar rises, most diabetics fail to maintain adequate level of hydration in hot weather. The humidity also causes the body to sweat. Extreme sweating can result in dehydration. If the condition persists, then dehydration can lead to a dry mouth, reduced sweating, and a decrease in urine output. "If the patients are not taking enough water, this will cause the water composition in the blood to reduce and will produce ketones. This will lead to bad breath and can be aggravated through dehydration," says Patange.

In severe cases, dehydration can result in damage to the brain and other organs. Drinking plenty of water is enough to counterbalance the mild dehydration that occurs when you're outside in the summer heat. If sodium and other electrolytes are lost through prolonged or heavy exercise, they must be replaced. Staying well-hydrated can help prevent fluctuations in blood glucose levels as well as heatrelated complications such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke. So drink adequate water, but steer clear of aerated drinks, fruit juices, alcohol and caffeine. Chaas and nimbu paani are safe options. Exercise is an essential part of the management of type 2 diabetes. Most people continue to indulge in outdoor activities even when it's hot outside, which may again lead to dehydration. In this weather, it's a good idea to try swimming and yoga.

Care for kids
Children suffering from typeone diabetes need to be extra carful in the summer. "If a child is eating less, indulging in summer activities and following the same medicine dose, there's a chance that their blood sugar may drop, which can be very harmful for their health. So these kids must check their sugar levels frequently, and take medication only as prescribed," says Patange. "But whether it is type one or type two, it is essentially uncontrolled diabetes that leads to various health hazards. If the blood sugars are under control, then be it summer, winter or rain, diabetics have nothing much to fret about

Similar Threads: