With cold winter temperatures setting in this week, the team at Diabetes UK Northern Ireland are on hand to help you stay healthy and well.
Winter weather can spike your blood sugar in a few ways, and cold temperatures can stress your body. In response, your body releases stress hormones such as cortisol to provide an energy boost. These hormones reduce insulin production. Because insulin helps the body’s cells absorb glucose (blood sugar) from the blood, having less insulin means that more glucose remains in the blood.
Stress hormones also stimulate your liver to make and release more glucose. As a result, your blood sugar levels go up.
Roxanne Small, Diabetes UK Northern Ireland Interim Director, said:
“It really is important to stay warm during these colder spells of weather as the cold can increase your risk of heart attacks and strokes – and diabetes makes people more at risk of these complications.
“We know the cost-of-living crisis may affect your ability to heat your home, but you may be entitled to grants or benefits to help make your home more energy efficient. We encourage people to follow NHS advice and heat your home to at least 18°C in the rooms you regularly use and keep bedroom windows closed at night."
For more support, information and guidance regarding diabetes and the cold weather, visit diabetes.org.uk.
Other tips issued by Diabetes UK include:
• Be aware of higher blood sugar levels. If you usually check your blood sugar levels, do this more often and be ready to adjust your insulin dose if you take insulin.
• Check your feet. Even though you’ll be layered up, remember to take your shoes and socks off each day to check for signs of foot problems.
• If you take insulin to treat your diabetes, keep a close eye on how you store it. It can freeze so don’t leave it in a car overnight. Extreme temperatures can affect diabetes tech, so follow manufacturers’ guidance and avoid exposing it to the cold weather.
• Ensure that you get your COVID-19 vaccines and the flu jab.
• Stay as active as you can to help manage your diabetes. We know it’s a little more difficult in the colder months, but there are plenty of ways you can get active in the home.
Visit here for more information about managing diabetes in the cold weather.