Cold and Diabetes - Antifreeze in the Blood?
Cold and Diabetes Antifreeze in the Blood?
Homeostasis. Thermoreceptors, thermogenesis, blood-glucose. A lovely vocabulary of regulation. When its cold, you shiver; when its hot, you sweat, and when youre diabetic, you begin to understand the sheer amount of energy it takes to keep a human body at 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit all the time.
Now that winters here, its time to explore the mysterious relationship between diabetes and cold weather. Most of the people I know who have Type 1, also have strong opinions about what cold does or doesnt do to ones sugars, but the science behind each opinion remains murky for now.
I can tell you, anecdotally if not scientifically, that the feeling of being cold might mask the feeling of being low . Both feel like a subtle cellular panic, and sometimes when Im out in the cold I dont realize how low I am.
One time in college, I went sledding with my friends. In order to reach the best hill, we had to park on one side of a frozen lake and walk across. Wind-kicked snow swirled around us, reducing, in that wonderful meteorological phrase, visibility. It was probably between 10 and 20 degrees Fahrenheit, and Id brought a can of Coca-Cola for sugar.
Being from Georgia, I had no idea what cold, serious cold, could do to ones blood glucose level (BGL). Simply by walking across the lake (an eerie and lovely experience, as strangers on ice skates appeared out of the mist and swept past us), my BGL dove to the 40s mg/dl (2.2 mmol/L). Then I realized Id forgotten my coke in the car. My friend had to hurry back over the lake, drive around, and run Continue reading