Urgent weather warning to millions with common condition – 4 things you must know | The Sun

MILLIONS of Brits living with a common condition have been issued with an urgent weather warning as temperatures rise.

More than 4.9 million people in the UK have diabetes – which is when your body struggles to control your blood sugar levels.

It's a serious condition and can happen when your body doesn't produce enough insulin, the insulin isn't effective or it doesn't produce insulin at all.

While many people have enjoyed the hot weather being felt across the country, it can make it harder to manage blood sugar levels.

Charity Diabetes UK issued the weather warning as temperatures could soar to 35C in the coming days.

Dan Howarth, head of care at Diabetes UK said that just because you're diabetic, it doesn't mean you shouldn't be able to have fun like everyone else.

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However, he highlighted that if you have the condition, you should heed caution in the sunshine.

"Sitting in the sun for long periods can affect your diabetes because you're not being very active, making blood sugar levels higher than usual.

"On the flipside, if you take insulin to treat your diabetes, it will be absorbed more quickly from the injection site in warm weather, and this increases the risk of hypos," he said.

Experts at the charity highlighted the four things all diabetics must do to keep them safe and healthy.

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1. Check your levels

Diabetics need to monitor their blood sugar levels in order to give themselves the right amount of insulin and this can vary for different people.

Medics at the charity said that if you check your own levels then you should be doing this more often during the heat and that you should be ready to adjust your dose or diet accordingly.

"If you plan on being active in the sun, like going for a swim, eat some extra carbohydrate at your meal before or as an extra snack.

"Check your levels beforehand and have a sugary snack if your levels are low.

"Keep something sugary to hand too, such as your usual hypo treatment, just in case," they advised.

2. Keep equipment out of the sun

Blood glucose meters are used to check sugar levels.

High temperatures can affect the device and the test strips that come with it.

If you do use them, you should keep them at a normal room temperature and out of direct sunlight.

However, you shouldn't refrigerate them, as this can also lead to incorrect results, the experts said.

3. Store insulin properly

During hot weather, you should be mindful as to how you store your insulin.

The gurus explained: "If your blood sugar levels are consistently higher than expected, it's worth considering whether your insulin could have been damaged in the sun.

"Insulin, in the hot weather especially, is best kept in the fridge or a cool bag (taking care that it does not freeze)."

When damaged by the heat, the experts said that clear insulin becomes cloudy, with the liquid also becoming grainy and sticking to the side of the glass.

Insulin that has been exposed to bright sunlight may also have a brownish colour.

It's important that you don't use insulin that looks like this and to always speak to a healthcare professional or GP if you're unsure.

"Other medications, such as tablets usually should be kept as close to normal room as possible.

"Check the patient information leaflet that comes with your medication for information on how to store," experts added.

4. Stay hydrated

Everyone needs to stay hydrated during the heatwave, and this applies whether you're being active or just relaxing.

Hot weather makes you sweat and this is the body's way of cooling you down – but because you're losing fluid, you have to replace it.

Becoming dehydrated increases the risk of hyperosmolar hyperglycaemic syndrome (HHS) or diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). 

"Drinking water or sugar free soft drinks will help you to stay hydrated.

"Carry drinks with you and make sure you have regular sips," the experts added.

When you're out in the sun, it's also important to remember to apply sun cream to exposed areas of your body, 15 to 30 minutes before going out.

The experts also advised wearing long sleeves, loose trousers, a hat and sunglasses with a UV label of 400.

Diabetics can also suffer with complications when it comes to their feet and the experts said that you should always make sure you're wearing something on them.

They added: "If you have neuropathy, you may not be aware of your feet burning, so wear sun cream and flip flops on hot ground."

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