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Managing Diabetes in the Summer Heat: What You Need to Know

Daniel Kim Views  

Yonhap News

Summer has officially begun, with daytime highs reaching around 30 degrees Celcius (86 degrees Fahrenheit). This season can be particularly challenging for people with diabetes, who are more vulnerable to heat-related illnesses. They must take extra precautions to carefully manage their blood pressure and blood sugar levels, more so than during cooler months.

Professor Kim Jin Taek of the Endocrinology Department at Nowon Eulji Medical Center stated, “The recent trend of blood sugar diet, also known as Gluet, has been receiving a lot of attention. It’s very effective for weight loss and diabetes prevention and management,” adding, “It prevents rapid spikes in blood sugar after meals and can improve insulin resistance.”

Kim further explained that while seasonal fruits like watermelon, melon, peaches, and grapes are crucial for replenishing minerals and vitamins during summer, excessive consumption can increase blood sugar levels. He emphasized that watermelon, in particular, has the highest glycemic index among summer fruits, which can cause significant blood sugar spikes and requires special attention. To prevent diabetes, he recommended consuming fruits with a lower glycemic index, such as apples, pears, and plums.

Regular exercise is essential for diabetic patients to maintain proper weight control. However, during the summer, avoiding exercising during the hottest parts of the day is crucial. Especially when blood sugar levels are high, exercising can be harmful as it increases the risk of heat-related illnesses and the possibility of dehydration due to sweating.

To relieve thirst caused by heat, it is better to drink cool water or tea instead of sugary drinks like soda or juice. However, when exercising for an extended period, it is advisable to have sports drinks containing less than 5-10% sugar content to recover from dehydration or hypoglycemia quickly. Dehydration in diabetic patients can potentially cause problems in the kidneys or heart functions.

A decrease in appetite in diabetic patients can somewhat aid in blood sugar control. However, if it leads to skipping meals, caution must be exercised regarding hypoglycemia. Adhering to regular meals at prescribed times is crucial, especially for diabetic patients undergoing drug therapy.

For diabetic patients, feet are always a special focus for care. The most common complications of diabetes appear first in the feet and, if not properly managed, can lead to situations where amputation of the foot may be necessary. Diabetic patients, especially, experience impaired sensory perception and blood circulation compared to those without diabetes, resulting in reduced sensitivity to temperature changes and pain. During the summer, when feet are exposed by wearing sandals, minor wounds can go unnoticed promptly, leading to severe inflammation. Therefore, self-examination of the feet is recommended daily during the summer. It’s important to carefully examine less visible areas such as the soles of the feet, space between the toes, and the back heels using a mirror if necessary, and to observe if the skin is reddened, swollen, or feels warm to touch. If you sweat a lot, applying powder can also be helpful.

Daniel Kim
content@viewusglobal.com

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