If you have diabetes, you know how vital it is to keep your blood sugar levels stable. Uncontrolled high blood glucose levels might harm blood vessels and neurons. It can also cause kidney failure, blindness, and heart disease.
Blood sugar can be lowered through medication, exercise, and a healthy diet. High blood sugar levels can cause dehydration by reducing body fluids.
Dehydration is particularly harmful to diabetics. Stress hormones which can raise blood glucose levels, are released when you take them.
Why does your body need water?
Signs of dehydration arise when your body’s water weight falls below 50%.
Water aids the body in several ways, including:
- Transporting oxygen and nutrients (including glucose) to cells
- Hormone production
- Neurotransmitter action
- Keeping your body warm
- Moisturize membranes
- Keeping your eyes clean and moist
- Eating, smelling, and swallowing
- Bowel motions
- Transmitting toxins via urine and sweat
- Food metabolization for energy
- Mineral and vitamin dissolution in food
- Forming saliva
- Joint lubrication
- Your brain, spinal cord, organs, and foetus (in pregnancy)
- Shock absorption for joints, organs, and bones
Dehydration causes and contributors
The following can cause signs of dehydration. Having multiples of these things might cause dehydration:
- Inadequate hydration
- Hot weather
- High blood glucose levels
- Diabetes mellitus/ insipidus
Signs of Dehydration
- Headache, light-headedness, and dizziness
- Having a dry mouth or cough
- Heart rate has increased.
- Blood pressure that is too low
- Appetite for sugar
- Swelling of the feet and hands
- Muscle spasms
- Urine with a dark colour
- A quick surge in blood sugar levels is also dangerous for diabetics.
Dehydration and Diabetes
Diabetes and dehydration can coexist. In fact, thirst and dry mouth are often the earliest signs of diabetes. But, how do diabetes and dehydration go together?
This link is all about how the body reacts to elevated blood sugar.
Loss of water concentrates glucose in the circulation. This raises blood sugar levels. Mild and chronic dehydration can affect people with diabetes.
Unstable blood sugar levels can be caused by even mild dehydration (50-100 mg/dL).
If you are dehydrated, you may need more insulin than if you were hydrated.
Chronic dehydration can raise blood sugar levels. For example, vomiting due to food sickness or a stomach illness might cause a spike in blood sugar. After an IV of fluids in the ER, your blood sugar will likely return to normal without extra insulin. Dehydration may need more insulin than hydration.
Excessive thirst is an early sign in people with diabetes and mild dehydration.
Diabetes thirst develops when the body loses too much water through urination. Even if you drink, you may still feel thirsty.
Your kidneys will keep producing urine to wash out excess glucose. This cycle repeats until your blood sugar levels drop.
Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a condition that arises after sustained high blood sugar.
If your cells can’t absorb sugar, your body starts burning fat. This process creates ketones, which can cause health issues if consumed in excess.
This syndrome can induce severe fluid loss, resulting in shock. Symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis:
- dry skin
- a red face
- stiffness of muscle
How does dehydration affect your blood sugar levels?
Dehydration lowers water in your system, increasing glucose content (sugar).
The sugar to water ratio has shifted, causing high blood sugar.
Imagine collecting sap from trees to make maple syrup. The sap is 95% water and 5% sugar! Boiling the sap concentrates the sugar content by evaporating the water. This makes a rich, sweet syrup perfect for pancakes. Less water = more sugar.
Your bloodstream needs enough water to keep the optimal water-to-glucose ratio.
- Mild to moderate dehydration can elevate your blood sugar 50 to 100 mg/dL or higher. Especially during hot weather, vigorous exercise, or illness (diarrhoea or vomiting).
- Severe dehydration can be fatal due to a variety of circumstances. Including high blood sugar levels and a lack of electrolytes, sodium, and potassium.
- If you’re suffering from an illness that’s causing severe dehydration or vomiting. Also, you’re unable to drink enough fluids. Then go to the Emergency Room or Urgent Care right away to receive intravenous fluids.
Rehydrating with intravenous fluids or water can help lower blood sugar levels.
Consult your doctor about taking insulin with your hydration drink. Also, while deciding between “zero sugar” and “low sugar” options.
Severe dehydration can cause diabetic ketoacidosis and other serious complications.
How much water should diabetics consume daily?
There is no hard and fast rule about how much water to drink, but there are guidelines.
Preserve water and drink it anytime you feel thirsty. You don’t have to force yourself to drink water to achieve a goal, but attempt to do so throughout the day.
Even if you aren’t thirsty, you should drink water every hour to stay hydrated. People with diabetes thirst reflexes aren’t always perfect. Thus prevention is better than cure.
Non-diabetics should drink 8 glasses of water daily, so should diabetics. In contrast to our insulin-producing companions, diabetics feel the consequences of dehydration on their blood sugar levels.
8 glasses of water every day equals 2 litres (67 ounces or over half a gallon). Calculate how many times a day you need to fill a 2-litre reusable beverage container.
This figure rises while you exercise or battle the summer heat.
A healthy person’s water needs will vary. Especially if they are sweating from exercise or being outside on a hot day. Healthy people should drink two to three cups of water per hour to replace water lost via sweating.
- Fluids can help reduce signs of dehydration. Water is best because it is sugar-free. You may be given oral rehydration salts for diabetics and you need medical attention.
- Drinking sugary liquids like fruit juices or sugary sodas may worsen dehydration-induced hyperglycemia.
- Depending on your treatment plan, lowering your blood glucose levels may be doable.
- Self-adjusting insulin users should only take extra insulin if their healthcare staff approves.
- If you are unsure how to address signs of dehydration or high blood sugar, call your doctor.
Who should drink less water?
“Too much water can be harmful,” according to research.
In some cases, drinking too much water might be harmful to your health. You should consult your doctor about your daily water needs. You may require less water if you:
- You have heart, liver, or kidney failure.
- You have over-hydration symptoms.
- You’re on diuretic drugs.
- You also use antidepressants and opiates.
- Your doctor has told you to drink less water.
Alternatives to Plain Water
While water is best for improving fluid intake and reducing signs of dehydration. Other drinks can also rehydrate you.
Add fresh lime or lemon juice to ordinary water to flavour it. Stay hydrated with herbal teas, skim milk, and sugar-free coffee.
But avoid energy drinks, juices, and sodas. These sugary drinks might raise your blood sugar levels. Sugar-free sparkling water is fine.
The diuretic impact of coffee (making you urinate more) is smaller than the amount of liquid you drink.
Other ways to manage your blood sugar levels
If you need to drop your blood sugar, the Diabetes Council recommends the following:
- Stay hydrated
- For 15 minutes, raise your heart rate.
- Eat a protein-rich (but not sugar-rich) snack.
- Use doctor-prescribed fast-acting insulin.
- After doing any of the following, check your blood sugar.
Diabetes is a long-term condition that can lead to serious problems if it is not treated. More urination and thirst are signs of dehydration. Dehydration is a concern, but when combined with diabetes, it can cause serious issues. By preventing dehydration, you can keep your blood sugar levels in check. Also, stay healthy and happy no matter how hot it is outside.If you want to seek consultation regarding diabetes or related health conditions, Truemeds is the right place for you. It provides you the facility of free consultation with the expert doctors. You can also upload the prescription of medicines on Truemeds. It is the most reliable and reputed online pharmacy that provides generic medicines online, at your doorstep across India at a heavy discounted price. By choosing an alternative or generic medicine recommended by our Truemeds experienced doctors while ordering medicine online, you can save even more money (save upto 72%).