Researchers at the University of Ottawa in Canada wanted to find out if blood sugar regulation affects the body’s ability to dissipate heat during exercise in hot weather. Although poor blood sugar control does not affect whole-body heat loss, the association between persistently elevated blood sugar (as measured by hemoglobin A1c) and higher body temperature and heart rate may suggest a thermoregulatory function.
Importantly, this effect did not appear to be related to the participant’s physical fitness. Poor blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes can increase the risk of dangerously high body temperatures and increased stress on the heart during physical exertion in the heat, research suggests. However, more research is needed to confirm this relationship and understand why these abnormalities occur even when heat loss is not affected.
Blood Sugar Control Affects Whole Body Heat Exchange
Canada’s Ottawa University, who led the group, Dr. Glen Kenny, “Previous research has shown that aging is associated with a decline in the body’s ability to transfer heat. This is more pronounced in people with type 2 diabetes. However, this has persisted. The extent to which long-term blood sugar control may mediate this response is unclear.” It is not clear whether it can. By testing whole-body heat exchange using our whole-body air calorimeter (a device that provides an accurate measurement of the heat emitted by the human body), we can provide long-term control of blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes and physiological measures to dissipate body heat. we were able to better understand the relationship between ability.”
Regular exercise is generally recommended to manage and improve blood sugar. Rising global temperatures and prolonged heat waves make it harder for people with type 2 diabetes to control the disease, as current health standards recommend exercising in hot weather. People with type 2 diabetes also experience heat stress that increases with age.
What is Glycated Hemoglobin?
The researchers measured the proportion of glycated hemoglobin in the blood to monitor blood sugar control. This is hemoglobin (a protein molecule in red blood cells that carries oxygen) with sugar molecules attached, and it represents the last three months of blood sugar control. A normal healthy glycated hemoglobin level is 4-6%, but a decent level for a diabetic is 7%.
26 physically active men aged 43–73 years with type 2 diabetes for 5 years or more underwent an exercise heat stress test involving cycling in a calorimeter set at 40°C. They did a 30-minute tricycle race with a 15-minute rest break between each race at light, moderate, and intense exercise intensities. Intensities were constructed based on a predetermined rate of metabolic heat generation relative to body size so that each participant had the same heat load and consequently lost the same amount of heat.
The researchers emphasize that the findings are based only on a group of physically active men (at least 150 minutes of exercise per week). This may not be the most heat-sensitive group of people with type 2 diabetes. More research is needed to understand how the body’s physiological capacity to dissipate heat changes when sedentary and more sensitive individuals exercise in the heat.
Canada’s Ottawa University Dr. Glen Kenny, “Type 2 diabetes is associated with higher rates of heat illness and death during heat stress than in the general population. By determining heat stress levels where diabetes-related disorders occur, the body’s ability to lose heat leads to dangerous increases in core temperature, we can identify heat-sensitive individuals.” “We can provide better heat protection advice to protect the health and well-being of these individuals. This includes guidelines that can help their healthcare providers manage heat. Stress in patients who may be engaging in recreational, sports or work-related activities in the heat.”