How important is hydration for diabetes? What can it cause if you’re not hydrated?
I’ve noticed it myself. Sometimes, if I have a particularly stubborn high (or event borderline high) blood sugar that won’t come down with my usual line of care, it may very well be that I’m a bit dehydrated.
But is that the whole story? In this weeks episode of Type 1 Thursday, I go over the main factors why hydration is important, what signs of dehydration is, the causes, and how all this can impact your blood sugar management.
Do you consider hydration an important part of your diabetes management? Why, or why not? Let me know in the comments!
If you prefer to read about hydration instead of watching the video, here is a transcribed text version for you:
We all do it every day, hopefully. And we may not be paying enough attention to it though, which is why I wanted to make a point of it today: hydration, and how important hydration is to a diabetic or person with diabetes, depending on which you prefer.
What causes dehydration, and what can it cause if you’re dehydrated? Dehydration is a higher risk for people with diabetes, because of high blood blood sugars being dehydrating for the body. Even if you don’t have super high blood sugars, or maybe you are someone who is up in the 70 to 90% it time in range of blood sugar. But even then we do have those few circumstances when the blood sugar does go up so that we have to pay attention to our hydration.
High blood sugars don’t just cause dehydration, dehydration can also cause high blood sugars. I know this for myself, for example, if I have a more stubborn, higher blood sugar than I would like insulin is not really taking as it should, movement doesn’t help, insulin neither, all my normal strategies of trying to get my blood sugar down. Sometimes, it can actually be that you are a bit dehydrated! In that case, that’s why your blood sugar has gone up as well, because the body doesn’t have enough liquid to actually keep that blood sugar moving in the body. One doesn’t necessarily cause the other, they can both cause each other. It can be a vicious loop, unless you pay attention to it.
What are the symptoms of being dehydrated? The obvious thing is thirst. If you’re thirsty, you’re probably quite dehydrated and you should fuel up with some water. You can have a headache, often a creeping on headache can also be a sign of dehydration. Dry eyes and dry mouth, I know for myself when I have a higher than normal blood sugar, I can definitely feel my eyes being like a little bit sandy, and my mouth feels like it’s been swiped with about 15 cotton balls! You can become dizzy, especially in hot weather, for example if you’re dehydrated. You can become tired and sluggish. And, if you when you go to the bathroom and your urine is dark, that can also be a sign of dehydration.
What causes dehydration? One I already mentioned was high blood sugars. But as you remember, high blood sugars can cause dehydration, but the dehydration can also cause high blood sugars. Yhe jury’s still out on which one is which! Other things are you simply drink too little water, that is very likely one of the causes. Hot weather or strenuous exercise, so if you’re sweating more than normal, can be a contributing factor. It can be alcohol, for example, that dehydrates your body. Diarrhoea or that you’ve been vomiting can also dehydrate your body.
Why does dehydration happen? And why in relation to high blood sugars? When our blood sugars are high, the kidneys try to filter as well as much of it out as possible. This means that you actually filter a little bit more of blood through your kidneys at that point, which also brings with it water. In a simplified explanation, that’s why we get dehydrated and can feel dehydrated when our blood sugars are higher. Actually, the main point in diabetic ketoacidosis is not necessarily the ketones, for example. Ketones are not bad in limited amounts. It’s also not necessarily the high blood sugar, but it is the dehydration. The really dangerous part of a DKA, and especially if it has come to vomiting and other symptoms of DKA can bring with it, it is the dehydration that makes it dangerous. Please watch out so that you don’t become too dehydrated, as it can also be a contributing factor to the diabetic ketoacidosis. And, I can’t forget, every time I talk about DKA, I cannot miss the fact that it can only be caused by a lack of insulin in the body! This can be a relative lack of insulin in the body, when the body is simply not getting the insulin that it needs and requires to work properly. That is why DKAs happen – it’s not necessarily just because of the high blood sugar – the root cause is always too little insulin. Diabetic ketosis is not the same as ketosis, they are two completely different things. You can see and read my further thoughts on DKA av ketosis here!
Anyway, back to the topic! Dehydration can also cause a lack of electrolytes. If you’re severely dehydrated, you should and may have to go to the hospital to get IV fluids with electrolytes.
How much to drink is another question I often get and that is a little bit of a tricky one, because it is very individual. It entirely depends on how active you are, on what you do and depends on what shape your body’s in. It depends on so many factors! As a rule of thumb, I personally try to drink about two litres of water a day. This also helps me flush out any things that aren’t supposed to be there and also help to stabilise my blood sugar.
Thank you so much for watching. I can’t wait to chat with you more in the comments! If you have any questions, comments or experiences that you want to share with me, please leave them in a comment below, and I’ll happily chat further on over there.
Just remember kids and sweet friends, drink your water and keep hydrated!
Click on the different category headings to find out more. You can also change some of your preferences. Note that blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience on our websites and the services we are able to offer.
Essential Website Cookies
These cookies are strictly necessary to provide you with services available through our website and to use some of its features.
We provide you with a list of stored cookies on your computer in our domain so you can check what we stored. Due to security reasons we are not able to show or modify cookies from other domains. You can check these in your browser security settings.
Other external services
We also use different external services like Google Webfonts, Google Maps, and external Video providers. Since these providers may collect personal data like your IP address we allow you to block them here. Please be aware that this might heavily reduce the functionality and appearance of our site. Changes will take effect once you reload the page.