Winter has almost arrived in most parts of the country. With the changing season, everyone needs a little more care, a little more attention. If you or a loved one has diabetes, this becomes all the more important since diabetes is a chronic health condition that needs constant support and efforts in every season.
Winter and diabetes
As per a study, most people with diabetes could have higher HbA1c levels in winter as compared to the summer. This occurs because the body tends to release more glucose to keep itself warm in winter; but for this ends up being more harmful than helpful for those having diabetes.
Here are 8 practical tips diabetics must know for a healthy winter:
1. Eat healthy without going overboard
Cold weather in winter may make you prone to comfort eating. Remember, the basics of mindful eating do not change with the changing weather. Avoid processed and deep fried food items. If you face craving for some hot ghee parathas with butter, opt for cooking that at home. This helps avoid unhealthy, refined oil in the outside food.
2. Store your insulin and diabetes devices out of the cold
Similar to extreme heat, extreme cold may also affect your insulin and diabetes devices such as insulin pens, pumps, and glucometers. Avoid exposing your insulin solutions to temperature below 34 degrees Fahrenheit. Freezing temperatures can cause insulin to break down and lose its effectiveness. Your glucometer working might also be affected. Ensure it is protected in a safe case.
3. Don’t skip your health tests and expert consultations
As mentioned earlier, the season changes need you to monitor your blood sugar closely. If you experience any worsening of symptoms or a new symptom appears, consult with your healthcare team. You might need adjustments in your medicines and diet to help keep your sugar numbers within the desired range.
4. Keep an eye on your skin, especially feet
Dry air in the winter can cause your skin to lose moisture and crack. A cracked skin is more prone to wounds and infections. Take extra care of your feet. Keep checking the area in between the fingers. If you notice any injury or infection that isn’t healing or taking too long to heal, talk to a diabetes expert immediately.
5. Boost immunity to stay safe from infections
Health issues like flu, bronchitis, sore throat, etc, are quite commonly encountered in winter, and can cause diabetics to get complications or a more severe disease. Get your flu vaccination done to help keep yourself safe against the flu. Wash your hands often with soap and water, or keep hand sanitizer handy while going out. If you do get sick, follow sick day rules provided by your doctor.
Sick days can cause stress and result in blood sugar fluctuations. Amid COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to not ignore any kind of fever. As per experts, people with diabetes have an increased risk of getting a severe COVID-19 illness. Ensure to get tested well in time to seek early care.
Work on your body’s natural defense system as well. Include herbal teas and sugar free chyawanprash in your daily diet to boost immunity.
6. Keep your hands warm
Cold weather can leave you with cold hands, making testing your blood glucose more difficult. It gets a bit difficult to bring blood drop while pricking. Wearing hand gloves is one of the easiest ways to keep your hands warm. If your hands are cold before testing, warm them up on a warm mug or with warm soapy water.
7. Keep yourself physically active
Getting out of the cozy blanket for exercising might not appear as a good idea. However, keeping active helps increase blood circulation and makes you feel warmer. Don’t skip your exercise routine. Continue to keep yourself moving during the winter season to help keep your blood sugar levels under control. You can even choose to work out at home.
Feeling fatigued to work out? Check your health within the comfort of your home.
8. Use hot water bags correctly
Avoid keeping hot water bags in direct contact with bare skin. Your skin sensitivity may be impaired in people with diabetes due to diabetic neuropathy. Keep a barrier, such as a hand towel or a folded cotton dupatta, between the skin and the water bag.
Takeaway You can enjoy this cold weather in the best of your health by simply following these winter health hacks. Ensure to go out only when necessary. Stay at home. Stay safe. And, learn to keep your diabetes in check.