Worry-free Vacay

Travel With Diabetes

There is a different charm in travelling to the mountains in chilly winters. Watching the sunset in the mountains as you sip on some hot tea — sounds perfect, doesn’t it? However, for people with hypertension, diabetes, lung and heart-related problems, the same scenario is nothing short of a nightmare. 



As the altitude rises and temperature drops, the fear of sugar levels shooting up, breathing problems, blood pressure dropping and dizzy spells also rises. So, does that mean people with these problems should forget about witnessing the true beauty of nature? Well, of course not, as long as you take proper care. 



Long List Of Problems
“Cold weather puts a strain on the body which often causes the body to go into a flight-or-fight mode, releasing hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. These survival hormones cause the liver to release more glucose for energy, which can result in higher-than-normal blood sugar levels,” explains Harshita Dilawri, Nutritionist and Diabetic Educator. 


The notoriously cold weather at higher altitudes can also make blood thicker and more prone to clotting which can pose dangers because of increased blood pressure. The chilly winds and a shortage of oxygen in the hills can also have a negative effect on people with heart or lung issues. 



Things To Remember
Now, let’s work towards making sure that you don’t face any troubles while you are on a vacation. First and foremost, if you have any such health problem, consult your doctor before planning a trip to the mountains. Preeti Seth, Nutritionist and Wellness Expert explains, “People with diabetes require lifestyle monitoring along with planning. So, don’t forget to pack the required medicine dosage along with 
the prescription.” 


She further adds, “Always carry some low-calorie healthy foods along with you to avoid fluctuation in your blood sugar level and maintain regular food intake to avoid hypoglycemia. Also, make sure you have company while strolling on hills to avert any sort of danger.”


For people with asthma or heart and lung troubles, it is important to be properly oxygenated and hydrated at all times. You can carry a portable oxygen canister to avoid the hassle. It is also advised to avoid smoking or drinking alcohol while you are in the mountains. 


People also often complain about rising blood pressure at a higher altitude. For such cases, Harshita advises, “It’s best to ascend gradually to prevent altitude sickness so that the body can become acclimatised to the changing altitude. Try and plan thoroughly and make sure your trip includes enough time for acclimatisation.” 




Avoidance Is Bliss
Winter season and vacation mean binging on your favourite foods. However, when you are diabetic, the idea of gobbling down a bowl full of gajar ka halwa sounds more worrisome than mouth-watering. Although nutritionists recommend the intake of seasonal winter foods for their high level of nutrients, they still advise people with diabetes to avoid many sugar-laden, winter delicacies like moong dal halwa. Preeti insists, “It is best to avoid food with saturated fats, refined sugar, carbs and sugary drinks. However, don’t skip your meals or forget to eat at 
regular intervals.” 


Special care and avoidance of certain food can make you a very happy person in the hills. 


“Though seasonal winter foods are nutritious and many of us simply can’t resist, but if the sugar levels of diabetics are not controlled, these foods should only be eaten occasionally and that too in moderation. In fact, too much intake of root vegetables should also be avoided,” suggests Harshita. She further adds, “Remember not to stay out long in extreme cold, especially if you have any cardiac issues or neuropathy, to avoid injury.”



Caring Touch 
A trip with friends is simply memories in the making and the same friends can prove to be a great helping hand. In case of any emergency, your companion can be one of your biggest support during a vacation. “The fellow traveller should be aware of the patient’s current medication and doses. It is important to keep the dietary intake in check. Even when the patient wants to eat a particular food, it is crucial to keep an eye on whatever goes in. The patient’s medical condition should be taken into prior consideration. The fellow passengers must be aware of the important contacts (the patient’s doctors and caretakers) in case of emergency,” agrees Harshita. 
With proper care and some precautions, you can surely enjoy a laid back and fun vacation in the hills. Happy holidaying!