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Are you diabetic? Warning: in this period of high heat, you are particularly vulnerable. Our advice to avoid kidney or cardiovascular complications.

In France, approximately 3.7 million people suffer from diabetes, a disease which is characterized by chronic hyperglycaemia, that is to say: by a permanently abnormally high blood sugar level.

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In detail, about 10% of patients have type 1 diabetes (or T1D, an autoimmune disease that occurs when the pancreas is no longer able to produce insulin, the hormone responsible for regulating blood sugar) and 90% of patients suffer from type 2 diabetes (or T2D, which corresponds to a abnormal insulin resistance – or “insulin resistance”).

Diabetes and heat waves: watch out for dehydration!

Faced with the high temperatures that we experience more and more often in the summer, diabetic patients are particularly vulnerable. Indeed: diabetes (especially when it is not or insufficiently balanced) increases the risk of dehydration, and therefore of renal, cardiovascular or even neurological complications.

To best withstand high heat when suffering from diabetes, the French Federation of Diabetics (FFD) first recommends good hydration: at least 1.5 L of water per day, as well as a diet rich in water (fruits, raw vegetables, broths, etc.).

It is best to avoid physical exertion during the hottest hours, seek coolness as much as possible (by closing the shutters in the morning, for example), and invest in a fan, air conditioning or even a fogger. Without forgetting to remain attentive to the signs that can potentially betray dehydration or even heat stroke!

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Excess sun exposure
When you are diabetic, it is better to avoid “tanning” afternoons. Indeed: by warming the skin, the sun activates blood circulation and can accelerate the absorption of insulin, thus increasing the level of sugar in the blood (glycaemia). In addition, diabetics have an increased risk of cataracts in summer in the event of excessive exposure to the sun. In short, protect yourself from UV rays!

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Multiply the aperitifs
Contrary to popular belief, alcohol does not hydrate. Worse: alcoholic beverages (beer, wine, cider, cocktails, etc.) can promote the onset of dehydration, especially when it is very hot outside. However, this dehydration is extremely dangerous for people with diabetes since it promotes blood sugar peaks and kidney damage. In summary: when you suffer from diabetes, you opt for non-alcoholic drinks as an aperitif!

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Slowing down self-monitoring
In summer, thanks to the holidays, we may tend to be less vigilant with regard to monitoring our blood sugar… Wrongly, because periods of high heat can cause significant fluctuations in blood sugar levels sugar in the blood: it is therefore recommended to check your blood sugar more frequently during the day.

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Store your medications anywhere
As a reminder, insulin reserves must be kept in the refrigerator (but not in the freezer!) in summer as in winter. After opening, they should be stored at room temperature not exceeding 30°C. The insulin pen, on the other hand, should be kept out of direct sunlight. When it is over 30°C, it is recommended to keep it in an insulated bag in case of moving outside.

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Not taking care of your equipment
Blood glucose meters, test strips (or electrodes) and control solutions must be kept in a cool, dry place: avoid storing them in direct sunlight during heat waves! In addition, they must be used within a defined temperature range, otherwise they will distort the results or cause equipment malfunction.

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