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Frequently Asked Questions on Diabetes and Winter Weather

By Dr. Saket Kant in Endocrinology & Diabetes

Nov 15 , 2022 | 1 min read

1. What is the link between diabetes and the winter season?

Blood glucose levels tend to rise in winter as many people tend to stay indoors and eat more in winter. The probability of falling sick with the flu etc. is also high in winter, which can also increase glucose levels.

2. Why do diabetics have higher HbA1c levels during colder months compared to warmer months?

In warmer months, people tend to go outdoors and have more physical activity, which changes in colder months leading to an increase in HbA1c.

3. Does the cold weather also make blood testing difficult? Why?

Yes. It can be difficult to do glucose testing with your Glucometers with cold hands as the blood supply to the tip of your fingers decreases. Washing and warming the hands before testing will help.

4. How does it pose a risk to diabetics?

The risk is the deterioration of glycemic control and its associated complications.

Also, less physical activity leads to more muscle-related pains and can decrease bone strength.

5. Are prediabetics/non-diabetics also at risk? Yes/no - how?

Yes. They are at higher risk of conversion to a higher degree of glycemia. Non Diabetics can convert to Pre-Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes to Diabetes.

6. What are some diet-related measures diabetics must keep in mind during winter?

Following the same healthy eating habits throughout the year helps in winter also. A balanced meal for diabetes with all micro and macronutrients in adequate quantities, fruits, vegetables, and fibres in adequate amounts with calorie counting is the best to be done.

7. Similarly, exercise-related tips

Exercise lowers glucose levels. A lot of exercises can be done indoors also if the temperature does not allow exercising outside. A few examples are Yoga, climbing stairs, dancing, and using devices like Playstation/Xbox, etc.

8. What winter measures must diabetics take to keep blood sugar levels in check?

Diet and Exercise are the important parts of therapy, along with regular medications, investigations, and follow-ups with the treating Doctor. Get an adequate amount of sleep and de-stress yourself by indulging more in your hobbies.

9. Do winter illnesses like colds, flu, and viruses also increase blood sugar levels?

Yes, winters are times when viral infections surge, and that can also increase glucose levels. The infection and decreased physical activity associated with being sick can increase diabetes levels.