As the winter chill continues, those with high blood sugar need to exercise caution. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, when the temperature around you is cold, the body releases stress hormones like cortisol to give a boost to your energy levels. These hormones in turn reduce the production of insulin, which helps the cells in the body to absorb glucose (blood sugar) from the blood. As a result, more glucose remains in the blood. The stress hormones can also stimulate your liver to produce and release more glucose, all of which can cause your blood sugar levels to go up.
As individuals with diabetes face unique challenges in maintaining their health in the cold season, Dr MK Singh, Senior Consultant in Internal Medicine at Marengo Asia Hospitals, Gurugram, shares valuable insights on managing diabetes during the colder months.
1. Regular Monitoring: Dr Singh emphasises the importance of consistent blood glucose monitoring. Frequent checks enable individuals to identify any fluctuations early on, allowing for prompt adjustments in their management plan.
2. Balanced Nutrition: A well-balanced diet is crucial. “Incorporating seasonal fruits and vegetables into meals, ensuring a mix of carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats are crucial. It’s essential to maintain portion control and consult a nutritionist for personalised advice,” says Dr Singh.
3. Stay Hydrated: While the chill may reduce the sensation of thirst, hydration is key for diabetes management. Dr Singh advises diabetic individuals to consume an adequate amount of water and herbal teas throughout the day.
4. Regular Exercise: Winter should not be an excuse to skip physical activity. Engaging in regular exercise helps control blood sugar levels and promotes overall well-being. Indoor activities like yoga, brisk walking, or workouts tailored to individual fitness levels are recommended, suggests Dr Singh.
5. Layered Clothing: Managing body temperature is crucial for those with diabetes. Dr Singh recommends wearing layered clothing to regulate body temperature effectively, especially when moving between indoor and outdoor environments.
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6. Foot Care: Cold weather can affect circulation, making foot care paramount for individuals with diabetes. Inspect feet daily for any signs of dryness, cracks, or wounds, says Dr Singh. Moisturizing and wearing warm socks and shoes are essential preventive measures.
7. Vaccinations and Health Check-ups: The doctor underscores the importance of staying up-to-date with vaccinations, especially during the winter months when the risk of infections is higher. Regular health check-ups, including eye exams, are vital for early detection and management of diabetes-related complications.
8. Consultation With Healthcare Professionals: Regular communication with healthcare providers is crucial for diabetes management. Individuals must schedule regular check-ups with their healthcare team to discuss any concerns, adjust treatment plans, and address emerging issues.
9. Medication Adherence: Strict adherence to prescribed medications is essential. Patients must remember to take their medications as directed and consult their healthcare provider before making any changes to their treatment regimen.
10. Stress Management: Stress can impact blood sugar levels, says Dr Singh. It’s important to incorporate stress-reducing activities such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or hobbies to maintain emotional well-being during the winter months.