MILLIONS of Britons living with a common illness have been issued an urgent weather warning as temperatures soar.
More than 4.9 million people in the UK have diabetes – that’s when your body struggles to control your blood sugar levels.
It is a serious condition and can happen when your body doesn’t make enough insulin, the insulin isn’t effective, or it doesn’t make any insulin at all.
While many people have been enjoying the hot weather across the country, it can make controlling blood sugar levels difficult.
Charity Diabetes UK issued the weather warning as temperatures could soar to 35C in the coming days.
Dan Howarth, head of care at Diabetes UK, said just because you’re diabetic doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have fun like everyone else.
However, he stressed that if you have the condition, you should exercise caution in sunshine.
“Sitting in the sun for a long time can affect your diabetes because you’re not very active and it makes your blood sugar levels higher than usual.
“On the other hand, if you’re taking insulin to treat your diabetes, it gets absorbed more quickly from the injection site in warm weather, and this increases your risk of hypoglycaemia,” he said.
Experts from the charity highlighted the four things all diabetics need to do to stay safe and healthy.
1. Check your level
Diabetics need to monitor their blood sugar levels to give themselves the right amount of insulin, and this can vary from person to person.
Medics at the charity said if you should check your own levels, do it more often during the heat and be prepared to adjust your dose or diet accordingly.
“If you plan on being active in the sun, like going swimming, eat a little more carbs with your meal before or as an extra snack.
“Check your levels beforehand and eat a sugary snack if your levels are low.
“Have something sugary on hand too, just in case, like your usual hypo treatment,” they advised.
2. Keep the equipment away from the sun
Blood glucose meters are used to check sugar levels.
High temperatures can affect the device and the supplied test strips.
When using them, you should keep them at normal room temperature and away from direct sunlight.
However, one should not store them in the refrigerator, as this can also lead to false results, according to the experts.
3. Store insulin correctly
In hot weather, you should be careful about how you store your insulin.
The gurus explained: “If your blood sugar levels are consistently higher than expected, you should consider whether your insulin may have been damaged by the sun.
“Insulin is best stored in the fridge or in a cool bag, especially in hot weather (making sure it doesn’t freeze).”
According to experts, when damaged by the heat, clear insulin becomes cloudy, the liquid also becomes grainy and sticks to the glass wall.
Insulin that has been exposed to bright sunlight may also have a brownish color.
It is important not to use insulin that looks like this and always check with a doctor or GP if you are unsure.
“Other medicines, such as pills, should generally be kept as close to normal space as possible.
“Check the leaflet that comes with your medication for storage information,” experts added.
4. Stay hydrated
Everyone needs to stay hydrated during the heatwave, and that applies whether you’re active or just relaxing.
Hot weather makes you sweat and that’s the body’s way of cooling you down – but because you’re losing fluid you need to replace it.
Dehydration increases the risk of hyperosmolar hyperglycemic syndrome (HHS) or diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).
“Potable water or sugar-free sodas will help you stay hydrated.
“Carry drinks with you and make sure you sip regularly,” the experts added.
If you are in the sun, you should also remember to apply sunscreen to exposed areas of your body 15 to 30 minutes before going out.
Experts also recommend long sleeves, baggy trousers, a hat and sunglasses with a UV rating of 400.
Diabetics can also suffer from foot complications and the experts said that you should always make sure to wear something on your feet.
They added: “If you have neuropathy you may not be aware that your feet are burning, so wear sunscreen and flip flops on the hot ground.”
Diabetics can suffer from neuropathy because high blood sugar levels can damage nerves throughout the body.
It mainly causes problems in the legs and feet.
https://www.the-sun.com/health/5765179/urgent-weather-warning-millions-common-condition-must-know/ Urgent weather warning for millions with widespread disease – 4 things you need to know