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Winter and diabetes

Posted in Personal Health 14 Nov, 2013

With winter now here, alongside world diabetes day, this blog will look at the effects the cold weather can have on diabetes and the precautions one can take to manage diabetes effectively during the colder months ahead.

How does winter affect diabetes?

It is known that during the winter months, those who suffer from either type 1 or type 2 diabetes tend to have higher HbA1c levels.

HbA1c is a reference to glycated haemoglobin, which indicates where your blood sugar level is. With the drop in temperatures during winter, your HbA1c levels can increase to dangerous levels and cause further health complications.

The drop in temperature can also have an impact on medication that you are using to manage your diabetes.

Precautions to take during winter

Although the cold weather can leave your fingers feeling numb, it is crucial that you continue to regularly monitor your blood sugar level. Furthermore, it is also important that you continue to exercise regularly, as this helps to maintain your glucose levels and increase your sensitivity to insulin.

The effects of a good workout can also help with your metabolism and keep you feeling warmer for longer with the rise in your body temperature that comes from exercising.

Moreover, your exercise routine doesn’t have to take place outdoors in the cold or even at the gym. You can maintain a regular exercise routine from the comfort of your own home. Here is a list if effective exercise routines that can help you manage your diabetes from the comfort of your own home:

  • skipping
  • climbing the stairs
  • yoga
  • indoor aerobics

What is the correct winter diet?

Maintaining the correct diet during winter is equally important, as the cold weather can affect your diet in numerous ways. With winter traditionally being a season where people tend to eat more, due to the fact that your body requires more ‘fuel’ to stay warm. It is essential you continue to maintain the correct diet and not over-eat on foods that can have an adverse affect on your blood sugar level.

A great way of avoiding unhealthy and unsuitable snacks is by substituting them with low fat options. However, you should also keep a count on the carbohydrate value, as some low fat snacks and meals tend to increase the carbohydrate volume to make up for the lack of fat. A large intake of carbohydrate can increase blood sugar levels.

Finally, in regards to your medication, it is crucial that you store and maintain your medication correctly. Storing your insulin at the correct temperature in a cool box when going away is an effective way of managing your treatment.

With a few simple precautions, you can enjoy the coming winter months ahead and manage your diabetes effectively.

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