Staying safe in hot weather – Gestational diabetes and heat
Summer has arrived and so what does that mean for you lovely ladies as far as staying safe in the hot weather, plus gestational diabetes and heat is concerned?
Here’s a few points to note which may make your gestational diabetes summer a bit more pleasant and levels a bit lower and more stabilised.
You may find a big difference in your blood glucose levels in hot conditions and so it’s important to be prepared!
DRINK, DRINK, DRINK!
Hydration is so important during pregnancy, with gestational diabetes we need to stay well hydrated and then add hot weather and humidity into the mix and guess what? Yes, you need to drink even more to stay well hydrated.
When you’re dehydrated, you have higher concentrations of blood sugar because less blood flows through your kidneys. With less blood, your kidneys don’t work as efficiently to clear out any excess glucose from your urine, meaning higher blood glucose levels.
You shouldn’t be waiting until you are thirsty to drink, you should be drinking to ensure that you do not become thirsty!
As always, water is your best option, but sugar free drinks are fine too. See our drinks page for more information on drinks.
HYPOS (LOW LEVELS)
There is a risk of more hypos in hot weather for those taking insulin or Glibenclamide. Heat can increase the absorption of some fast-acting insulin, meaning you may need to test your blood glucose more often and perhaps adjust your dose of insulin.
Please note: you should consult a medical professional before adjusting your dose of insulin, unless you have already been given guidance on how to safely do so.
The body’s metabolism is higher in hot and humid weather as it is working much harder and so if you are taking insulin or Glibenclamide to help control your blood glucose levels then be prepared in case you have a hypo.
Know the symptoms of hypos and have a hypo kit to hand. To learn about hypos and how to treat them, please take a look at our hypo page.
IF YOU ARE NOT ON INSULIN OR GLIBENCLAMIDE
Those that are not on insulin or Glibenclamide and notice low levels (levels below 4.0mmol/L) only need to eat a GD suitable snack or their next meal to raise levels sufficiently, rather than treating their levels with anything high in glucose.
This is because those that aren’t on insulin injections can not drop to dangerously low levels as the body will release glucose to counteract the low levels. This is known as a false hypo.
KEEP YOUR KIT COOL
Not only can you be effected by the hot weather, but your equipment can also be affected…
Blood testing in hot weather
Insulin, test strips and your blood glucose test monitor can be effected by extreme temperature and so it’s best to keep your testing kit and insulin away from direct sunlight and extremely hot conditions.
Keep your insulin in a cool bag, but take care that it does not freeze if using an ice pack. Ideally you want to keep your diabetes kits (monitors & test strips) at normal room temp and test your blood glucose levels in a cool, shaded place.
You can purchase specially designed cases for storing insulin and keeping your kit cooler in hot weather.
Signs that insulin has been heat damaged
- Cloudy insulin looks ‘grainy’ and many stick to the side of the glass
- Clear insulin may become cloudy
- Insulin exposed to bright sunlight may turn ‘brownish’ in colour
Do not use insulin that shows any of these signs of damage. Please discard it and open a new insulin pen. If in any doubt as to whether ou insulin has been damaged or not, please consult a medical professional before taking it.
EAT LITTLE & OFTEN
Many mothers say that they do not feel like eating much in warmer weather, however going long periods of time without eating can have a detrimental impact on your blood glucose levels.
When leaving a long time between eating, blood glucose levels drop low and the liver dumps stored glucose back into the bloodstream to raise levels. With gestational diabetes and diabetes in pregnancy, this can cause blood glucose levels to rise too high causing a spike beyond the targets we are aiming to achieve.
The best thing to ensure nice stable blood glucose levels is to eat little and often. Ideally 3 meals and 3 snacks a day (although these meals and snacks do not need to be much).
Be sensible in the sun – You’re a mummy!… you know the rules: sun cream, wear a hat, drink loads, avoid the hottest part of the day and don’t over do it!
Diabetics are at higher risk of heat exhaustion. Symptoms include:
• Sweating more than usual
• Cramping muscles
• Clammy skin
• Fast heartbeat
Consult a medical professional if you experience any of these symptoms
Have fun in the sun! We hope you have a great summer!
Why not buy some ice lolly moulds so that you can make sugar free ice lollies or a slushy cup to make sugar free slushies! Zero Dr Pepper and Zero Lilt are some of the GD UK Mums members favourites! We have lots of helpful info on our ice cream and BBQ pages that may be helpful too.
As always, any concerns please seek advice from a medical professional