It’s summer season! Yet, with the excitement that comes with summer; it is steaming hot! Did you know that with the hot weather comes some adverse effects to your health particularly if you are living with chronic illnesses?
With very high temperatures follows rapid evaporation from the environment as well as from the skin when exposed. This is particularly dire for people living with diabetes mellitus since dehydration predisposes to higher levels of blood glucose which further worsens dehydration. So, the higher your blood glucose gets, the higher your chances of getting more dehydrated and worse still; ending up with complications of diabetes including Diabetic Keto Acidosis (DKA) and death in extreme cases. Here are some signs of dehydration you should be aware of:
· Thirst – being thirsty is one of the ways your body lets you know you need to drink more water however; many people have mastered the act of ignoring this sign.
· Dark coloured urine – a more concentrated urine is a sign that your body is low on fluids
· Dry lips, mouth and eyes
· Muscle pains
Asides the hot weather, there are some other conditions that also expose you to the risk of dehydration namely:
· Insufficient fluid intake
· Strenuous/prolonged exercises or activities
· Uncontrolled high blood sugar levels
· Alcohol intake
· Fluid loss from diarrhea or vomiting
· Diabetes Insipidus
To avoid being dehydrated all day and especially this season, here are five things you need to do:
1. Ensure you carry a sizeable jar of water with you wherever you go and drink from it.
2. Eat your water - eat fruits that have lots of water like cucumber and watermelon.
3. If you don’t like the taste of water, infuse with your favourite fruits such as lemon, cucumber, grape, oranges, apple etc.
4. Avoid direct contact with sunlight and if you must go outdoors, wear large hats as well as light but full covering clothes.
5. Always keep track of your blood glucose levels and water intake.
6. Consider downloading and using user-friendly apps that help track certain health indices. Some of these apps include Mysugr and other fitness apps that track calories and water intake amongst others.
Keep being healthy and always remember that health is the greatest wealth!
Dr Anne Olowu writes from Lagos, Nigeria.