Can Type 1 Diabetics Go In Hot Tubs?
Anyone who has type 1 diabetes would soon learn how erratic trying to control their diabetes is.
With Type 1, for those who are unsure, insulin needs injecting to help break down the sugars and carbohydrates eaten within their food which gets carried around in their blood, basically to feed their cells.
And for those who have newly acquired this condition, this is because their bodies either no longer produce insulin, or perhaps very limited amounts, meaning far less insulin than their body needs.
They’d soon learn that they have to balance food intake against injected insulin and work done and if either of these is altered, food intake has to be adjusted to suit to keep their sugar levels relatively low, like non-diabetics.
Yes, surprise, even non-diabetics need some sugar in their blood. This provides energy for their muscle functions as well as for all their body parts to run normally.
The alternative is to adjust the amount of insulin injected, but adjusting their food consumption is by far the easier option.
However, there are many people who do not have the ‘switch’ to stop them eating to excess and it is these who need to adjust their insulin intake accordingly.
But let’s assume you want to get on with life as you know it as this topic suggests.
Can Type 1 Diabetics Go In Hot Tubs?
There are a couple of factors you need to consider:
1. Possible reactions to a hotter temperature
2. Possible reasons to limit infection occurring
So, let’s take number 1 first.
Assuming you have had Type 1 Diabetes for under 10 years; there is no reason not to use a hot tub, providing you have checked your blood sugar levels and they are not on the low side of normal for you – as we all tend to have variable levels according to our lifestyle.
If you check your blood reading around 15 minutes before you enter the water and it is fine – to give your skin time to heal over, then all should be well.
Feelings of being hot, much like high and low sugar levels can give, are natural in the raised heat level, as it is slightly hotter than your body temperature, so this pre-entry blood checking lets you know everything is fine.
Should you stay in the water for a prolonged period, then your sugar levels may well drop marginally, despite the fact you are simply using very little energy and burning sugar off.
It is recommended soaking for around half an hour at the most so that you can check your sugar levels again, but make sure your skin has healed over if you decide to re-enter the pool.
Should your sugar levels drop, you may feel faint, have foggy/blurred vision, start to tremble and be unable to think normally – in fact feel listless, both mentally and physically – then is the time you need a boost of quick-acting calories like a teaspoon of honey or neat sugar to raise your blood sugar levels.
Eating biscuits, crisps (potato chips) or any type of snacks raises your blood sugar too slowly and keeps raising your blood glucose way after you’ve got out of the hot tub, so the boost is the best option for quick recovery.
So, you will see, using a hot tub is just a matter of continuing the balancing act normal Type 1 Diabetes entails.
If you’ve had Type 1 Diabetes for more than 10 years, then there are other considerations that need to be dealt with when using hot tubs.
By this time, you may well be suffering nerve or circulation issues, without being fully aware of them.
What happens is your arteries gradually clog up unless you are active or by the time you are thirty.
This means the blood flow to your extremities is restricted somewhat. It’s not so much the flow to the extremities that is the problem, and it is more noticeable in your feet, but the return to your heart.
If your feet and ankles start to swell, owing to the fluid build-up in your lower body and not returning readily to your heart, then you more than likely will have sensations like numbness in your toes, feelings like walking barefoot on pebbles and any sores or cuts taking much longer to heal than you were used to.
Your feet lose their natural oils and the skin becomes flaky, so this needs potent moisturizers rubbed in. After all, moisturizers are natural oils that trap moisture in the skin, regardless of what the cosmetics industry tells you.
This is all down to slowed circulation, where the nutrient-rich blood is trapped around your feet, and also the flow is restricted, meaning renewal of nerve endings, muscles, joints, in fact, anything below your knees is starved of the renewal benefits provided naturally by your blood.
The big problem is when you lose these oils, especially between your toes, if your feet are swelled just a little, then with the toes also being swelled, you cannot dry between your toes too easily and most people tend to neglect this issue like they did as a youngster.
That causes your skin to split between your toes, maybe only fractionally, but it is enough for bacteria from the hot tub to get into your body and cause endless contaminants to rapidly multiply causing pain and infection.
And that is something you don’t want, especially being a diabetic, as it can lead to amputations.
So let’s say you’ve had Type 1 Diabetes for longer than 20 years. You may still feel OK and you feel as if you are coping nicely, but those developments are continuing.
Your circulation to your body may well be starting to affect your hands by now.
Any slight numbness showing yet?
At the foot level, things are getting worse. You can no-longer feel parts of your feet. Your heart is struggling to push your blood through your arteries.
In fact, instead of the three-phase heart pumping, you may be down to two-phase, or possibly one.
This can be heard using a podiatry amplifier on your arteries and is a sure sign that you really need to look after your feet, especially if you use hot tubs.
Any skin break, despite the fact you may not be aware of it, is a possible entry into your inner body for bacteria to cause havoc within your body.
Infection is the biggest problem for anyone, especially Type 1 Diabetics.
It is for this reason that a Type 1 Diabetic needs to be active on their feet as leg muscles do help to pump blood around your body, especially your feet. Even the slightest exercise is beneficial, so don’t just sit about.
Here’s hoping this has given you some guidance on hot tub usage with Diabetes Type 1.