The typical type 2 diabetes complications—think high blood pressure and increased risk of heart disease—worsen in the heat of summer and mean that your exercise performance may suffer. “The summer season and heat and humidity go hand-in-hand, which can cause complications for people who have diabetes for several reasons,” says Maria Subang, MD, a Kaiser Permanente Colorado endocrinologist. For example, 60 to 70 percent of Americans with diabetes have nerve damage that can affect multiple organs in the body, including sweat glands, which help naturally cool our body. “The inability to stay cool can lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke, which is a medical emergency,” says Dr. Subang. These 9 type-2 diabetes facts might surprise you.
First, people with diabetes should take note that getting enough fluids is a huge concern. Now add in hot summer days and you could be looking at higher glucose levels, which can mean more trips to the bathroom to pee, causing dehydration. “High blood sugars increase the risk of dehydration, so it is especially important to keep well-hydrated,” says Sarah Rettinger, MD, board-certified endocrinologist at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica. Sipping iced tea, sugary sodas, or booze can give you the false impression you’re drinking plenty because you’re not thirsty, but beverages with caffeine, alcohol, or sugar can be dehydrating and impact blood sugar levels. “Dehydration can further tax the body and lead to even higher blood sugars, creating a vicious cycle.” If your pee is a dark yellow, or you’re feeling sluggish or dizzy, you could be dehydrated.