Ask the Diabetes Educator Archive

1/12/05

Q:
Why does it say on a heating pad or blanket,that a diabetic should not use it?

A:

The reason that people with diabetes are advised not to use heating pads or electric blankets is because many people with diabetes have a loss of feeling in their extremities due to neuropathy. Without being able to feel how hot the blanket or pad is, you could be burned.

In addition, high glucose levels create a heat in the body that triggers the pancreas to produce more insulin, causing its beta cells to work overtime. Ultimately this forces the kidneys to work a bit harder. Also, dry heat is dehydrating; it take 6 molecules of water to move one molecule of sugar via the urine. Evidence of dehydration often shows up as skin conditions.

There are heating pads that are designed for those with diabetes by maintaining a constant, safe temperature.



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