Managing diabetes can be tough enough on its own. Dietary restrictions and the frequent need to monitor blood glucose levels are second nature to most people with diabetes.
It can become even more challenging to deal with diabetes during the winter months compared to other seasons. The connection between diabetes symptoms and the seasons may not be obvious at first. But, there are actually a few ways in which cold weather can affect diabetes. Here’s how.
Living With Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes During Winter
Changing Activity Levels
Physical activity is often an essential part of a healthy lifestyle and managing diabetes symptoms. But the winter can affect our activity levels, as well as blood glucose levels during exercise.
Most people tend to become less active during the winter. This is simply due to the fact that there is less sunlight and less pleasant weather. This decrease in activity can slow your metabolism and increase glucose levels. At the same time, our body breaks down energy at a different rate during activity in the cold. These glucose fluctuations can catch some people off guard, especially if they are not using a continuous glucose monitor.
Another universal trend during winter is that people tend to eat more food. It can be hard to control the impulse to seek out additional calories when we’re experiencing cold weather. Not to mention the holidays add more opportunities to enjoy delicious treats everywhere we go.
Needless to say, such dietary changes can be very risky if you have either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. Many diabetics need to work extra hard to keep their diet and glucose levels in check during the winter. But the reward for staying focused is better health and quality of life all year round.
Flu and Other Illnesses
The winter months are also usually accompanied by an increased prevalence of the flu and other communicable diseases. As people spend more time indoors, often in cramped quarters, it is easier for these illnesses to spread. These diseases can affect people with diabetes more severely than others in certain cases. This is in part because of potential complications directly related to diabetes. But, in addition to that, it also is simply more challenging to monitor glucose levels while battling the flu.
Diabetics should be sure to get the flu shot and practice good hygiene and sleep habits during the winter.
Cold Hands & Cold Feet
Cold weather often means cold hands and cold feet. Both of these things can make it more difficult to manage diabetes. Having cold fingers can make it difficult to monitor glucose levels using traditional fingersticks.
Cold feet, meanwhile, can cause a number of complications when it comes to managing diabetes symptoms. People with diabetes may have an increased risk of infection, which can commonly occur in the feet if left untreated. Diabetes can also affect circulation, which can lead to conditions like varicose veins.
The cold weather can cause numbness in the feet, which makes it more difficult to monitor foot health. The cold also affects circulation, which is compounded by existing health risks for diabetics.
Foot Care for Diabetes Symptoms
If you are in need of foot care products to manage your diabetes symptoms, visit the Foot Doc Store. All Foot Doc Store products are podiatrist-approved to help manage all varieties of foot ailments and injuries.