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From Franklin, Massachusetts, USA:

I am the mother of a very active diabetic 4 year old. I know that exercise reduces his blood glucose level but I am wondering now that it is summer, does exercising in the heat lower the blood glucose even more than in the moderate weather?


Summer heat affects blood glucose control by either increasing or lowering one's blood glucose levels or by just causing one's blood glucose levels to be more erratic.

The most common summer related blood glucose change is dehydration. When one goes out in the sun and perspires, your son will lose water, but not blood glucose. If you do not replace the lost water by drinking a lot of fluid, the blood glucose concentration will tend to rise.

On the other hand, during the warm weather, we tend to exercise more, eat less and change meal times. These changes can lead to a low blood glucose reaction.

In the summer we tend to move our evening meal later due to the fact that we like to take advantage of the extra sunlight hours. The action of the insulin taken before breakfast (especially the long acting insulin, NPH or lente), will continue to work through the late afternoon. If an afternoon snack is missed or dinner is delayed, there is a good chance of hypoglycemia, even more so if physical activity is increased. If your 4 year old is active this time of the day, be sure to speak with his doctor or diabetes education team to adjust your routines. Some extra carbohydrate may be needed immediately before your child's exercise or his insulin dose may need to be lowered.


Additional Comments from Dr. Lebinger:

In addition to all the issues already mentioned, it is my experience that in the warm weather, children often have lower blood sugars even if they have no change in exercise or food pattern. This may be related to changes in insulin absorption in the warm weather.


Original posting 5 Aug 1998
Posted to Exercise and Sports


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:58
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