Summer Planning Toolkit modules

Module 3: Chronic disease and heat

Diabetes

Diabetes

GPs need to be aware of the many ways in which heat can affect patients with diabetes’ blood glucose levels (BGL), hydration, kidney function, autonomic response and temperature control, for example:

  • Patients with diabetes may find it more difficult to sweat due to changes in hormones or nerve damage which, in turn, can make it more difficult to remain cool.
  • Extreme heat and raised blood glucose concentrations can both lead to increased dehydration. This can be worse in older people with diabetes, due to co-existing renal disease and/or lowered perception of thirst.
  • Some people with diabetes may experience more hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) in warm weather.
  • It can be difficult to know whether a person with diabetes is suffering from a hypoglycemic event or heat exhaustion as symptoms are similar. Patients with diabetes should check their BGL if they are feeling these symptoms.
  • Diabetes medication can spoil during warm weather so patients are encouraged to ensure they are stored correctly 31.

The Diabetes Queensland website provides a guide on how hot weather can affect your diabetes.

Resources

The RACGP’s Management of type 2 diabetes: A handbook for general practice provides guidelines on defining and diagnosis of type 2 diabetes, management of type 2 diabetes, lifestyle interventions, along with information on other associated health risks and co-morbidities. It also contains a list of resources on managing type 1 and 2 diabetes, including:

Further information on Type 1 diabetes can be found on the following Diabetes Australia webpages:

The Diabetes Australia website contains a range of further information for health professionals, including:

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