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The Steuben Courier Advocate
  • Tips for individuals with diabetes to beat summer heat and avoid heat related illness

  • UnitedHealth Group urges people with diabetes in Bath to take precautions during the expected summer heat wave.

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  • UnitedHealth Group urges people with diabetes in Bath to take precautions during the expected summer heat wave.
    Everyone suffers during record heat waves, but for people with diabetes extreme heat can present serious health consequences.  
    People with diabetes are particularly vulnerable to heat and humidity because their bodies are less capable of adjusting to increases in temperature.  Nerve damage - a common effect of diabetes - affects sweat glands and other organs, making it harder for people with diabetes to cool down.
    To help prevent serious heat-related illness, UnitedHealthGroup’s Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance (DPCA) urges people with diabetes in Bath to take proper precautions during this heat wave.
    1.  Avoid extended exposure to the sun.  Wear plenty of sun block to avoid sunburn, which can tax your body and cause blood glucose levels to rise.
    2.  Check your blood sugar levels often.  Many people tend to be more active in the summer months, and changes in activity and heat levels can affect the insulin needs of people with diabetes.
    3.  Drink plenty of water.  It is important to avoid dehydration, which places further stress on the body and affects glucose levels.
    4.  Stay cool.  If possible, take breaks from the heat in air-conditioned areas or designated cooling centers.
    5.  Keep medication and supplies as cool as possible, and away from direct sunlight.  Extreme temperatures can cause insulin and other supplies to break down or become less potent.
    6.  Avoid caffeine and alcohol in high temperatures.  Both alcohol and caffeine can increase the risk of dehydration for people with diabetes.
    7.  Be alert for signs of heat exhaustion.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists these signals as common signs of heat exhaustion: heavy sweating; paleness; muscle cramps; tiredness; weakness; dizziness; headache; nausea or vomiting; and/or fainting.
    “People with diabetes often have a reduced ability to sweat, which, in hot, humid weather, can further impair the body’s capacity to regulate sugar levels in the blood,” said Don Stangler, medical director for UnitedHealthcare New York.  “It is critical that people with diabetes take steps to avoid potentially life-threatening heat-related illnesses.”
    Stangler advises that people with diabetes should be on the lookout for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke and seek medical attention right away if they experience symptoms.

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