Diabetes in the Summer

I live in Fresno which means gross amounts of heat, humidity, and laziness. This week we hit an early summer record of 110 degree heat the last and I am literally dying. To me it's expected living in this area, but normally this heat waits until later in the summer. The last couple of days my blood sugars have been a hot mess (get it?). I have been all over the board with highs and lows. It’s wearing me down and driving me crazy, here are some things to help you understand whats going on in your body when the weather warms up.
Turns out the heat should be causing more lows than highs for us. This is due to your metabolism increasing. Apparently, it takes your body around 10-14 days to acclimate to the disgusting heat increase. Until it has acclimated to the heat your body is working harder to keep you cool so you won’t overheat. In the world of diabetes a body working harder means using up more of the sugar in your system leading to low blood sugars. Part of me thought I was having more lows because my doctor and I recently changed my basal settings in my pump.

I guess that would explain my low blood sugar increase. But, still hasn’t answered why I am noticing just as many high numbers. Then I came across a Mayo Clinic blog explaining that it isn’t necessarily the heat that is affecting your blood sugars, but the fact that heat can change your daily routines, which can affect your blood sugar levels. Being lazy (which I mentioned earlier happens a lot in Fresno during August) will affect your blood sugars especially if you are eating more and exercising less. Which I have to admit, in the last two weeks, I have been terrible about going to boot camp every other day like I normally do, it’s too stinking hot to be running around buildings and lifting weights. This would explain my higher numbers.

Another factor of why my blood sugars could be misbehaving is the fact that the heat will begin to breakdown your insulin. I noticed this last week when I was on my last leg of insulin. My blood sugars were not going down quickly enough and I was having higher peaks than I normally do. The problem with this, I am the cheapest person in America (or at least I feel that way about certain items) I refuse to refill my insulin until it is absolutely needed because that stuff is expensive. Especially when I need new insulin before my 30 days is up because then I pay completely out of pocket and that is just a scary number! But I guess it would be more expensive to land in the ER because I have a large amount of ketones building up in my system.

If you are experiencing some funky numbers like I am, here are some things to remember when it’s getting hot and your diabetes is all over the place. Try not to switch your routine around, as a diabetic you know it is very important to stick to your routine, don’t deviate. Drink lots of water to avoid ketones and dehydration. Try to keep your insulin cool (if you can) and refill your prescription or change out your set if you're noticing your insulin being less effective. Just because it’s insanely hot doesn’t give you the excuse to become a bad diabetic. 


  1. I recently moved to the California desert (Palm Springs) and am dealing with the summer heat. One thing that is important to note is that humalog (the insulin in my pump) begins to break down at temperatures above 97 degrees. It happens gradually, but will attribute to your highs not coming down as quickly as normal. I plan do to a post about my experience in the desert heat soon on my new blog.


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