Type 2 diabetes: The surprising risk factor when in the sun raising blood sugar levels

Type 2 diabetes: The surprising risk factor when in the sun raising blood sugar levels

06/08/2021

Type 2 diabetes can be a 'devastating diagnosis' says expert

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A person’s chances of developing type 2 diabetes depend on a combination of risk factors such as genes and lifestyle. Although one can’t change risk factors such as family history, age, or ethnicity, you can change lifestyle risk factors around eating, physical activity, and weight. Getting sunburnt is another lesser-known risk factor increasing your blood sugar levels.

When a person is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes understanding their blood sugar levels and the importance of keeping them in check will likely be a part of your life.

Numerous lifestyle factors can play havoc with blood sugar levels including diet, activity, stress or illness.

Understanding the complicated condition can seem like a conundrum as few other surprising factors could spike your blood sugars including sunburn.

Many are unaware that sunburn can in fact elevate blood sugar glucose levels.

This is why it is pertinent for type 2 diabetics to practice caution when out in the sun and avoid getting sunburnt.

Sunburn causes physical pain and pain stresses the body.

When the body experiences stress, blood glucose levels tend to rise.

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When out in the sun your body is experiencing stress and one’s normal routines are likely being disrupted.

Keeping a closer eye on blood glucose levels gives you the opportunity to respond sooner and keep them in check.

Being out in the sun can also increase blood glucose levels through dehydration.

When the body becomes heated it sweats, which can lead to dehydration.

Dehydration is also stressful to the body and can lead to higher blood glucose levels.

Scientists hypothesise that dehydration can lead to an increase in the hormone vasopressin, which prompts the kidneys to retain water and for the liver to produce blood sugar, potentially affecting the body’s ability to regulate insulin over time.

Tips for type 2 diabetics when in the sun to keep blood sugar levels healthy:

  • Use sunscreen
  • Wear UV-rated sunglasses to protect the eyes
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-coloured clothes
  • Protect your head, face, and neck by wearing a wide-brimmed hat
  • Don’t go barefoot
  • Avoid being out in the sun during the hottest part of the day
  • Stay hydrated

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists the surprising triggers that can send a person’s blood sugar soaring which include:

Sunburn. The pain causes stress, and stress increases blood sugar levels.

Artificial sweeteners. More research needs to be done, but some studies show they can raise blood sugar.

Coffee. Some people’s blood sugar is extra-sensitive to caffeine.

Losing sleep. Even just one night of too little sleep can make your body use insulin less efficiently.

Skipping breakfast. Going without that morning meal can increase blood sugar after both lunch and dinner.
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