1 July 2015

Hypo aware in the heat


Kan You believe how hot it is? Mr West is probably attributing it to his scorching performance last weekend… Daily Express journalists are beside themselves with excitement, and health warnings are coming down harder than British rain (which somehow still made an appearance this morning…) 

This post will look specifically through a T1D-tinted lens. In this weather, blood sugar control can often become even more tumultuous (as if we needed an extra inversion on this oh-so-delightfully loopy of roller coasters). 

The common side effect is more frequent hypoglaecemia. For non-diabetics, this is essentially dizziness, headaches, nausea and all round looking a bit punch-drunk. Hence the difficulty trying to get past a club bouncer when you're riding low on a 2.5… Nonetheless, the dehydrating nature of high sugar levels can pose further risks, when coupled with the heat. 

These pointers may seem obvious, but are  crucial not only for staying safe, but ensuring you enjoy the sun without spending hours flopped out on a sofa - the 'hypo hangover' is never enjoyable. 


Don't wait to hydrate!



Staying hydrated is crucial for diabetics, period. Nonetheless, when it's exceeding 30 degrees in the heatwave any trip out should be accompanied with a water bottle - whatever your blood sugar levels are, drinking liquids is crucial! It's no use hydrating only once you feel dehydrated, as by then the damage is largely done.

Moreover, while the heat is more likely to cause low blood sugars, there are always risks for highs. It is essential to jump on this especially quickly, as a side-effect of hyperglaecemia is excessive thirst - not ideal when your body already needs more liquids.

Keep that water bottle handy and drink up - it is also an excuse to invest in a cool new one (adding your own ice) if you need help to stay on tap. 
This might be an old-wive's tale, but I've read a handful of times that diet coke is meant to be good (shock horror) for reyhdrating you when your blood sugar is high. Any drink is good though; ideally a sugar-free one if you're high, for obvious reasons. My current obsession is my signature iced tea… As of this afternoon my mum is officially hooked too! 


The tea total party


Before I lose you all here, I'm not saying diabetes condemns you to a life of mock mojitos and virgin pimms. However, along with heat, alcohol can provoke low blood sugars. Sensible drinking is always advised for diabetics, but the heat makes this more vital - you have a double-whammy trigger after all! 

Before you tear at your hair in despair (was that overkill rhyme? Maybe… Yes…)  there is hope! I go back to my delightful iced tea. The love started when I was in Asia last summer, and has continued on the other side of the globe in earnest. Go to Whittard, or Wilkinson's (I will try not to be a tea snob) and pick out a floral or fruity flavour of your preference - be bold and surprise yourself! 
Mason jars work for any occasion - except if you have my dad round for tea. He doesn't get the Mason life. Small confession, in the lefthand photo I had actually asked for Giraffe to put my wine in a Mason jar… I did say it was for every occasion, right? Nonetheless, it can equally work the other way round…

Shop: Next Quote Wine Glass, £12
Iced green tea in a wine glass! Second confession… I used this because our flat was out of clean mugs. Yet a quote glass is definitely another example of "object for all occasions".

I also love coffee - if you follow my instagram/ twitter/ facebook/this blog… that won't come as too much of a revelation! With the heat, iced coffee is the new pimms. At home, I have an iced latte almost daily and swear by the starbucks instant coffee. The price may seem steep for the whole box, but when you consider that it works out to 40p a cup - pretty cost-effective.




Eat carbs (yes, even before marbs) 


With blood sugars more prone to dipping, ensure your body has sufficient carb fuel. This might seem quite ironic, coming from someone with a history of staunch carb avoidance, but carbs and I are in a better place as of late - a rather low HBA1C was a sobering reminder of why they are so important. 

Some of my go-to snacks are nature valleys, trek/nakd bars, malt loaf and I'm also on a bit of a brioche-hype. The first snack mentioned is also good for being oat-based; lower GI foods are good for diabetics as the glucose is released slower. 
On the subject of oats, I am loving Momma muesli pots lately; a mix of oats, yoghurt and fruit. Yoghurt is also handy for when the heat is swallowing your appetite a bit. It's important to keep snacking, as your body needs a steady stream of carbs to prevent the blood sugar dips. From a recovery point of view, I also know that the can the heat cannot be a reason for restriction - if I can work round the blood sugar bullies, I can work round heat-spells! 


Play it smooth-ie


If your appetite is well and truly shot, a great solution can be smoothies!  I haven't made one recently, but might give it a go as another snack I love is greek yoghurt and fresh fruit (namely berries and banana). 

Adding greek yoghurt to smoothies gives them a wonderful texture, not to mention the slight tanginess if you use greek yoghurt, Add ice cubes, and you have yourself the perfect pick-me to help you beat the heat. 
Shop: Etsy Mason Jar, £8


Pack a snack


Whether is be a snack pack (I recommend mini oreos) or portable-friendly bar (Messrs nature valley and trek to well here), always having a carb-based food item on you when you're out is crucial! 

Even if it's just down to the local shop for emergency diet coke/ ice-cream/ human freezer. Having 'supplies' out with you, as soon as you detect a low, allows you to act then and there; aka, it reduces the length of time you wonder round looking like an Eeeyore-Luna Lovegood hybrid.

credit: giphy.com

On the other hand, the world would be a much better place with more Lunas. Dazed over Draco any day.


***

The sunshine weather is there to be celebrated (despite the likely insistence of The Daily Mail to the contrary). Diabetes shouldn't get in the way of these summer days.  This aside, any excuse to buy another Mason jar… 

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