Sweat it: Diabetes and perspiration

Tip Did you know that diabetes can hinder your ability to sweat in hot weather? The human body perspires to cool itself off. If you aren't sweating, you run the risk of overheating at temperatures that some people with diabetes can't tolerate. It's very important to keep yourself hydrated and out of direct sun if you can. Past research shows that during hot weather people with diabetes have an increased number of emergency room visits, hospitalizations and deaths due to heat-related illnesses.

A recent Mayo Clinic survey revealed that most people with diabetes don't realize how dangerous hot weather can be. In addition to complicating blood sugar control, hot weather brings with it the risks of dehydration, sunburn, heat stroke, and damaged oral medications and insulin.

Pay attention to the weather in the area where you live, especially the heat index. High humidity makes hot weather more dangerous because it can further slow down the body's cooling process. Only about half the patients who responded to the Mayo Clinic survey knew the definition of the heat index--do you?


Nassar, AA, RD Childs, ME Boyle, et. al. 2010. Diabetes in the desert: What do patients know about the heat? J Diabetes Sci Technol 4(5): 1156-63.

Reviewed by Jason C. Baker, MD. 11/11

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Last Modified Date: November 28, 2012

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by Brenda Bell
Many people say that depression is a side effect or complication of diabetes. Without discounting the association of the psychological condition with the physical one, I'm not convinced that our high and/or unstable glucose levels are directly responsible for that change in our mental state. My belief is that the unrelenting need for self-care, for following the sort of care schedules that can drive licensed, professional caregivers crazy, is what overwhelms us...
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