Susan B. Sloane, BS, RPh, CDE, has been a registered pharmacist for more than 20 years and a Certified Diabetes Educator for more than 15 years. Her two sons were diagnosed with diabetes, and since then, she has been dedicated to promoting wellness and optimal outcomes as a patient advocate, information expert, educator, and corporate partner.

Now that winter is upon us in full force, we need to answer the question, “How will my blood sugars react to the cold?” 

Cold weather, in general, will cause a rise in blood sugars. This is because cold is a stress on the body, and a reaction to stress is that blood sugars can go up. 

3 things to remember about cold weather and diabetes

1. Remember not to stay out long in extreme cold, especially if you have any cardiac issues or neuropathy. The cold weather can make blood thicker and more prone to clotting.

2. Higher blood sugars make you “feel” warmer in cold temperatures. This is because sugar content in the blood makes it harder to cool down or freeze. For example, some think this protected the Inuit Indian tribe, as they have a high rate of diabetes and endured extreme temperatures. I can’t quite see the protection factor in diabetes, but it is a different way to look at how our bodies evolved and changed according to the environment.

3. Protect your insulin and testing equipment from extreme cold. Keep these items indoors if possible. If your monitor won’t work, try warming it up under your arm for a few minutes. Sometimes hot tea in a thermos packed with your supplies will prevent freezing.

How do you handle the cold this time of year? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

To learn more about this topic:
How Weather Changes Can Affect Your Blood Sugar
Don't Let Jack Frost Send Your Blood Pressure Soaring
Recipes: Warm Soup for the Cold Weather