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Diabetes Awareness Month: It’s Affects With The Sun

November 2, 2011

This month is Diabetes Awareness Month.  Diabetes is a very serious disease affecting millions of Americans, and the rate of diabetes is steadily increasing.  Diabetes is a chronic disease in which there are abnormally high levels of sugar in the blood.  Insulin is the hormone produced by the pancreas that controls blood sugar levels. Too little insulin in the blood, resistance to insulin, or both can cause diabetes.

When we eat food a sugar called glucose, a source of fuel for the body, enters our blood stream.  The role of insulin is to move glucose from our blood into our other organs, fat, and muscle to then be used as fuel.  When a person has diabetes their body cannot remove the glucose from the blood stream to the other areas in our body because not enough insulin is produced, or the cells do not respond to insulin normally.  There are three types of diabetes – type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes.  Type 1 can happen at any age, but it is mainly found in children and it caused by lack of insulin.  Type 2 diabetes is the most common.  Gestational diabetes happens to women during pregnancy, but this is not chronic.

Diabetes complications can arise in the sun or extremely warm climates because these conditions can change blood sugar levels and medications can be made ineffective.  When in the sun or warm climates it’s advisable to monitor one’s blood sugar level more often.  Since eye complications are also common with diabetes it is important to always wear sunglasses, as the sun can cause eye damage as well.  If one plans on being in the sun for an extended period of time it is important to bring extra diabetes medications.  Many of these medications cannot be exposed to the sun so proper storage is very important, and if possible keeping the medication entirely out of the sun is ideal.

Putting on sunscreen, wearing a hat and sunglasses are also key points for any person who is going to be in the sun!

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