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Diabetes patients should stay safe in winter

Diabetes patients should stay safe in winter

NHS Blackburn with Darwen Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is encouraging people with diabetes to take extra care over the winter months.

Over the winter, diabetic patients tend to have higher HbA1c levels than during the warmer months.  With this in mind, we’ve compiled some tips to help keep your blood glucose levels under control during a cold snap.

Keep testing your blood

Regular testing will help you to catch any highs or lows and keep your sugar levels under control. If your hands are cold, try warming them up on a warm mug or radiator before doing your test. 

Keep your activity levels up

A little physical activity each day can help your glucose levels in a number of ways:

  • Increasing insulin sensitivity
  • Keeping you warm
  • Good for the mind

Keep an eye on your diet

Colder weather can affect your diet in a number of ways. People tend to eat more during the winter, are more likely to eat ‘comfort foods’ and cold trips to the shops may give way to ordering takeaways.

Your body may ask for more calories to fuel itself against the cold, this is a natural response from the body but just make sure you don’t overeat and stick to the right foods such as vegetables, fruit, beans, fish, skinless chicken, olive oil and nuts.

Keep illness at bay

Becoming ill makes diabetes harder to control.

You’ll feel less well, have less energy sugar levels often rise significantly in response to colds, flus and viruses.

To guard against catching flu, book yourself in for a flu jab. The NHS will generally provide these free to all diabetics.

Dr Penny Morris, a local GP and clinical lead for long term conditions at the CCG, said:

“People with diabetes are a high-risk group when it comes to getting flu, so it is crucial that they are vaccinated as soon as possible this winter.

“Having flu can really upset diabetes control and cause blood glucose levels to fluctuate. This can leave people with diabetes open to many health problems, including complications of flu such as pneumonia and bronchitis.

“If you haven’t already been invited for a free flu jab, contact your GP surgery to find out when they are holding clinics and make sure you look after yourself during the cold weather.”