While most things that affect type 1 diabetes are in our control like food choices and medication, seasonal changes are not one of them! It’s up to us to adapt if we want to get through them smoothly. Winter is one of those seasons that can wreak havoc, or at least place some extra burden on those living with diabetes. When the temperature drops we are forced to make some adjustments to our daily lifestyle and how we manage type 1 diabetes.
The lack of sunlight, physical activity, and motivation are arguably the hardest aspects of winter for people living with a chronic illness. Luckily, with some modifications to our regular dosing, a little mental health support, and maintaining a healthy routine, we can combat the negative effects of winter.
Changes in Medication
Generally, most people living with type 1 diabetes need more medication during the winter months due to less overall movement. This definitely rings true for me. A call or visit to the doctor or endocrinologist is recommended near the end of the fall to discuss a dosing approach for the winter. They may want to increase your overall basal rate, carb ratio, or perhaps both. Keep track of glucose levels near the end of the fall so as to better track what’s going on with your body and how it’s being affected by the cold.
The goal is to keep your glucose levels as in range as possible. It’s a lot easier to be the victim of diabetes burnout and suffer the negative mental implications of diabetes if blood glucose levels are all over the place due to seasonal changes.