Dehydration and diabetes often go hand in hand. Dehydration can impact several people when temperatures are high, and the sun is sweltering. However, people with diabetes are even more prone to dehydration. Diabetes occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin, creating extra sugar in your blood and your kidneys are working overtime to filter and absorb the excess sugar. If your kidneys are overworked, the body expels the excess sugar in the urine which in turn drags fluids from your tissues.
Consequently, this makes a person with diabetes urinate more often thereby leaving them dehydrated. So how can one prevent the problem of dehydration and diabetes and make sure body fluids remain at a healthy level?
Dr. Shubhda Bhanot, Chief Diabetes Educator, Max Hospital, said, “People with diabetes have an increased risk of dehydration as high blood glucose levels lead to decreased hydration in the body. Dehydration can be treated by increasing intake of fluids. However, in case of severe dehydration, basis medical advice, you could be given additional electrolytes (salts).”
A few simple tips to ensure you stay hydrated even when the weather is warm:
Consume fluids: Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water or caffeine-free beverages such as coconut water, plain buttermilk or sugar-free lemonade. It is important to keep alcohol consumption at the minimum as alcohol is dehydrating.
Be mindful of heat exhaustion: People with diabetes have a higher risk of heat exhaustion and are more susceptible to heat-related conditions. Certain diabetes complications, such as damage to blood vessels and nerves, can affect sweat glands so the body can’t cool as effectively. It can lead to heat stroke and heat exhaustion, which is a medical emergency. Signs of exhaustion are dizziness, profuse sweating, muscle cramps, fainting spells, headaches, increased heartbeat and nausea. It is imperative to be mindful of these signs and move to a cooler place, drink plenty of fluids and contact one’s doctor. Some commonly used medicines like diuretics (to treat high blood pressure) can also cause dehydration.
Monitor blood glucose levels regularly: Be sure to check glucose levels as advised by the doctor. There are smart CGM devices like FreeStyle Libre that allow continuous glucose monitoring on the go and are prick-free. Extreme heat can cause blood glucose levels to fluctuate, so remember to monitor them more often if out on a hot sunny day.
Keep cool while exercising: While exercising, instead of going for a run outdoors in the heat, one can opt for a treadmill run in an air-conditioned gymnasium. Alternatively, do exercise outdoors early in the morning when temperatures are lower.
Dehydration is a concern for everyone, and the combination of dehydration and diabetes can lead to varied health complications. By following some simple strategies to avoid dehydration, one can keep blood glucose levels under control and stay healthy and happy no matter how warm it is outside.
Should you have any further questions, please do consult your doctor for more information.