Type 2 diabetes symptoms could flare up after long periods in the sun, and with summer holidays imminent, many are dreaming of long days soaking up the rays. However for many type 2 diabetics, being vigilant with their condition during their holidays is crucial. Too much sun may raise blood glucose levels and cause hypoglycaemia. Hypoglycaemia is when the blood sugar levels are too low.
Doctor Sarah Brewer said: “It is so tempting to lie out in the sun all day and catch a tan but be wary of doing so if you have type 2 diabetes.”
The liver and muscles produce some blood sugar and in order to keep levels normal the body needs insulin. Insulin is a hormone that directs the bodies cells to take up glucose and store it.
If there is not enough insulin then the blood sugar level builds up and this could cause health problems.
Doctor Brewer continued: “Heat can lead to dehydration and affect glucose levels. Drink sufficient fluids to maintain good hydration.
“Avoid prolonged sunbathing, which can raise blood glucose levels and always keep medication cool.”
Storing your medication correctly while on holiday is another key element to correct diabetes care, as the hot weather can affect the way insulin works.
Never store your diabetes kit with checked-in luggage as it will get too cold. Rather keep it with hand luggage and to avoid any problems at check-in, its advisable to try get a medical letter from your GP.
Diabetes.co.uk advised that patients should find out what types and strengths of insulin are available in the area in which they will be travelling and should refer to relevant pharmaceutical companies.
Always carry snacks when travelling and if travelling for long periods and flying across time zones, then adjust your insulin accordingly.
It is tempting to throw caution to the wind when it comes to food and drink when on holiday but type 2 diabetics need to be aware of the amount of hidden sugar in many of these treats, especially alcohol.
Doctor Brewer added: “When you have diabetes, drinking alcohol can cause your blood glucose levels to either rise or fall, depending on how much you have eaten, how much alcohol you consume, how quickly, and the amount of carbohydrate present in the drink or mixer. Beer and sweet wine can cause blood glucose levels to rise.”
“Moderation is key, as excess alcohol increases insulin resistance and the risk of hypertension, abnormal heart rhythms, fatty liver changes, hypoglycaemia and promotes obesity.
“Only drink alcoholic drinks when your blood glucose levels are well controlled, drink alcohol with food, drink slowly and avoid sugary drinks as mixers.”
Symptoms of a hypoglycaemia
- Blurred sight
- Trembling and feeling shaky
- Feeling anxious or irritable
- Feeling tearful
- Extreme exhaustion
- Lack of focus
Mild hypoglycaemia can usually be treated by the individual however severe hypoglycaemia will require immediate treatment as it could cause serious health problems.