How Heat And Humidity May Affect Blood Sugar

Hot weather does not directly alter blood glucose levels. However, sweltering temperatures affect our metabolism and the release of hormones. Heat and humidity influence how much and how fast we move, how much we perspire, blood circulation, the foods we want to eat, and the activities we choose to enjoy.

Any of these factors, or a combination, might contribute to the experience of dehydration and blood sugar fluctuations.

Six Steamy-Weather Influences

We know when it is sizzling outside that we will sweat, and as the air wicks moisture from our skin the body cools. This cooling system works wonderfully as long as our body remains hydrated.

  1. If our body is low on fluids, the kidneys receive less blood flow and work less effectively. This might cause blood glucose concentrations to rise.
  2. If someone’s blood sugar is already running high in the heat, not only will they lose water through sweat but they might urinate more frequently too, depleting their body’s fluids even more.
  3. When the weather is tropical - hot and humid - the sweat on our skin cannot readily evaporate into the already soggy air. Our innate cooling system is less effective and the risk of heat exhaustion increases.
  4. Having poorly controlled or difficult-to-control blood sugar can inhibit some people’s ability to sweat. Without this effective natural cooling process, they are at higher risk for overheating—even when the humidity is not too high.
  5. While many diabetics notice higher blood sugar in hot weather, some individuals need less insulin when the weather turns significantly warmer. Although science has not figured out why this occurs, it may be owed to the dilation or widening of small blood vessels in hot temps. As these tiny blood vessels dilate, the body’s delivery system becomes more efficient—extra insulin and glucose can feed the peripheral tissues.
  6. Having an illness besides diabetes, such as lupus, can also affect the body’s response to heat and its management of insulin and glucose.

High Heat and our Habits

Humans are creatures of habit, but summer temps often alter typical patterns of exercise, eating, and hours in the sun—which may, in turn, affect blood sugar.

Exercise. If people discontinue or cut back their usual exercise routine because of hot weather, the change may also show up during glucose monitoring since the body is burning less fuel. Moving an exercise routine indoors where it is air-conditioned may affect the length of time you exercise and/or how much energy is expended.

Diet. Sometimes people’s eating habits are affected by extreme heat as well. They may eat different foods or eat less, altering their usual blood sugar levels.

Protection. Though most of us are in the habit of protecting our skin from ultraviolet light, occasionally when having summer fun we get a bit too much sun, and sunburn causes tissue inflammation. The physical stress of a sunburn may cause increased insulin resistance and higher blood sugar readings in some individuals.

Supplies. Some habits, such as caring for diabetes supplies, need to change when the heat is on. Extreme temperatures can break down insulin and damage test strips and glucose meters that are not insulated from the heat. High humidity can alter the effectiveness of test strips and medications that are not tightly sealed.

Photo: Prevention, Diabetes, Mayo Clinic
Photo: Pexels

Get a Free Diabetes Meal Plan

Get a free 7-Day Diabetes Meal Plan from Constance Brown-Riggs who is a Registered Dietitian-Certified Diabetes Educator and who is also a national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

Just enter in your email below to download your free Diabetes Meal Plan.

By clicking Submit, you agree to send your info to InformationAboutDiabetes.com who may contact you with updates and information and we agree to use it according to our privacy policy.

More Articles

It is estimated that 80,000 children and adolescents each year are diagnosed with juvenile diabetes. Juvenile diabetes is diagnosed when the body...

As the summer months come to an end, we throw aside our swimsuits and bring out our favorite team jerseys! In America, fall means football, and...

The medical community relies heavily on the goodwill of its citizens, as giving blood and organ donations help save thousands of lives every year...

Evidence is mounting that consuming black cumin helps to manage type 2 diabetes. The spice lowered blood glucose...

It's not uncommon to spend several years living with type 2 diabetes and not even know you have the condition. Despite regular check-ups with your...

More Articles

Type 2 diabetes has become so common in Western culture and media that this often lifelong, serious condition doesn't really raise an eyebrow...

Limiting our intake of highly processed foods, and eating more whole and lightly processed fare can boost our nutrient and fiber intake, lower...

Lantus is a once a day insulin injection that is taken at the same time every day. It replaces anywhere from the average three to five insulin...

Improving your A1C reading requires you to maintain consistently healthy blood...

Just because you have diabetes doesn't mean you can't help your community by being a blood donor. When persons with diabetes maintain good control...

Most of us do not regularly keep the fruit that scientists call Fortunella margarita in our refrigerator. That these small, yellow-orange...

A diagnosis of diabetes usually comes with a list of recommended lifestyle changes. To make these diet and exercise...

Having diabetes affects your body’s ability to handle hot, humid weather, and steamy temperatures can degrade diabetes supplies. But all of this...

Fashion and function come together in clothing developed by AnnaPS, making life a bit more comfortable and convenient for insulin users. The...

Not only is dry skin uncomfortable, but scratched or cracked skin is also susceptible to bacterial and fungal infections – common medical...

One way to ensure our body gets a variety of nutrients is eating nutrient-dense foods, and one of the most nutrient-dense foods on our planet is...

Financial aid and scholarship money are available for people with diabetes, but acquiring it requires an investment of time and patience. Whether...

Any sweetener you use to replace table sugar is a sugar substitute. One type of sugar substitute is artificial sweetener. Three other types...

Smoking is a proven health hazard for everyone, but it is an especially dangerous habit for those with diabetes. Research shows that smokers with...

While life on the road can be tough on musicians, it’s especially challenging for those battling diabetes. Some musicians have to check their...