This is a condition in which the body cannot use or store sugar normally. This increases the sugar levels in the body, which produces the symptoms below. Over time the condition can lead to complications affecting the organ systems including the kidney and eyes. Adult onset of diabetes is often associated with poor diet and obesity.
Passing increased amounts of urine, both day and night
Sometimes a loss of weight
Disturbed vision - usually blurring
Recurrent skin infections
Many of the complications of diabetes will give no obvious symptom until the problem is well advance and the damage is done. Complications of long term diabetes includes more serious problems such as blindness, loss of mobility, increased risk of heart attacks and kidney failure.
Home care for diabetes
Weight management is the cornerstone of diabetic treatment. The patient should keep to his recommended body weight by eating a diet low in fats and rich in the proper carbohydrates. He needs to control his intake of refined sugar.
Regular exercises will help to burn blood glucose and body fat.
Elderly diabetics must take particular care of their feet and legs because circulation is poor, causing the skin to be thin and devitalised. A small cut or sore can lead to serious infections if not tended to properly.
Practise good hygiene.
What is Diabetes
Diabetes mellitus or more commonly called diabetes is a condition where there is an absence or inadequate secretion of insulin. Insulin is a hormone made in an organ in our body called the pancreas. The function of the insulin in the body is to absorb the glucose from our diet and turn it into energy.
In a diabetic patient, the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or thhe available insulin is blocked or inactivated by other substances thus preventing it from performing this function. This results in excess glucose in the blood. After a period of time this can lead to serious complications. The condition cannot be cured but can be controlled with lifelong treatment.
Type I and Type ll Diabetes
There are 2 types of diabetes:
Type lThis is also known as insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM). In Type l no insulin is made in the body. This can occur at any age but especially in the young. Treatment is in the form of dietary controls and insulin injections.
Type llThis is also known as non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM). This accounts for 90% of all cases. In Type ll, the pancreas produces insufficient insulin. It usually occurs in people over the age of 40 and about 85% of patients are obese at the time of diagnosis. Very often other membes of their family also have diabetes. Type II diabetes can be treated by dietary controls alone or dietary controls and anti-diabetes tablet. Some may also need insulin injections.
Extra demands on the pancreas can also cause some women to develop diabetes during pregnancy. This is referred to as gestational diabetes (GDM). About 20-50% of GDM patients will develop diabetes in later life.
There is no cure for diabetes, but it can be controlled. The aim of diabetes treatment is to relieve the symptoms and return the blood sugar level to normal. Diabetes left uncontrolled can lead to long term damage to the kidneys, eyes, feet and blood vessels. The key to management of diabetes includes diet, exercise, anti-diabetes medication and insulin injections.
Diet plays a very important part in the management of diabetes. As diabetes is a disorder of glucose utilisation, many people assume incorrectly that they need only avoid sweet?foods and drinks to manage the condition. There's more to managing diabetes than that.
Diabetes should have 3 regular meals daily and they do not miss any meals.
Starchy foods which are high in fibre, should form the basis of a diabetic's diet. Such foods include wholemeal bread, noodles, oats, unsweetened crackers, chickpeas and lentils.
Foods that are high is sugar (e.g. white refined sugar, chocalate and honey) and fats should be kept to a minimum. Fat increases their risk of getting heart disease. It is also recommended that the food be grilled instead of fried.
Salty foods and salt intake must be reduced. Avoid foods such as crisps and peanuts.
- Diabetics should plan their meals in advance. A consistent balance of?meals makes certain that there's a consistent intake of calories. This in turn ensures there's a consistent glucose load which the body can handle itself or with the help of anti-diabetes medications or insulin injections.
Adjustment of caloric intake is recommended to achievend maintain a desirable body weight.This can be done with the help of the doctor.
Alcohol consumption should be kept to minimum as too much alcohol can upset the blood sugar level.
Eating?'diabetic'? foods is not necessary as thet do not offer any special advantages for the diabetic patient. These products are noy usually any lower in calories than their ordinary counterparts. There are also specialised nutrition formulas for diabetics who can't stick to a diabetic diet. Such formulas aim to provide the nutritional requirements of the diabetic. It is important to remember that healthy eating is the key to a diabetic's diet and they can eat the same type of diet that everyone should be eating.
Nearlyalf of patients withypeI diabetes are overweight. Their enlarged fat cells do not respond well to insulin and also require the body to produce more insulin. Besides dietary controls, exercise are great help in reducing weight. The goal is to keep their weights close to the ideal body weight. Regular exercise also helps the insulin to work better and keeps the patient healthier.
However, it is advisable for the patient to consult their doctor on a suitable exercise plan to avoid hypoglycaemia. This can happen if?the insulin does is not reduced before exercise or not enough food was consumed before exercise. Your doctor will be able to advice you on the choice of exercise, dietary and medication adjustments that may be required.
Type I diabetic patient require insulin injecyions daily. Type II diabetic patientsmay or may not need them. The first insulin available for treatment was produced in 1921. During that time the insulin was extracted?from the?pancreas of cattle and pigs (bovine and porcine insulins). With the improvements in technology, synthetic human insulin, which is identical to the insulin made in our body, can now be produced using yeast and bacteria.
Insulin has to be given by injection as it can be destroyed in the stomach if taken orally. The patient's doctor makes decisions on insulin treatment, as each patient's insulin treatment is individualised according to the needs.
There are many types of insulin available.
The differrent types of insulin which are available are distinguished by:
the onset of action
the speed at which the injected insulin is absorbed into the blood
effect the time the insulin leveleaches its peak
Duration of action
the time it takes for the injected insulin to be absorbed.
These tablets do not contain insulin. Instead they contain drugs which either?help the pancreaso produce more insulin or help the body to use sugar more effectively. They can sometimes produce side effects like low blood sugar attacks, sickness, diarrhoea and rashes. Patients should notify?their doctor when?they experience unexpected problems after starting with these tablets.?
Diabetic Self-Care Needs
In addition to adhering to a strict regime of diet, exercise and medications, diabetics also have special self-care needs. Diabetic patients are prone to complications of the diseases, which cause long term damages. They have to protect themselves against these complications. Special care has to be taken of the skin, feet, eyes, and teeth to prevent infections and other problems cropping up.
Diabetics are prone to skin infections because the high sugar levels in the body are conducive to bacterial and fungal growth. As suach diabetics have to ensure that their skin care routine can minimise the occurence of skin infections. Therefore, correct skin cleansing and the use of skin care preparations are important.
Use cleasing agents which are acidic, with a pH of about 5.5. This ensures that the skin's natural protective function is maintained.
Cleansers should be mild, as strong preparations can irritate the skin.
Use lukewarm water to wash.
Alkaline-based cleansing agents should be avoided especially if the skin is itchy or inflamed.
Refrain from scratching if skin is itchy. A break in the skin can encourage infection. Apply a lotion or cream with anti-itch properties.
When washing do not forget areas such as armpits, genital and perianal areas, skin folds on the areas between the toes.
After washing, apply a moisturising lotion to keep the skin moist and supple.
Take special care to avoid any injuries or scratches.
Foot care is especially important to the diabetic patient. In addition to skin infections, the feet are also prone to ulceration. This is due to the reduced blood supply and oxygen to the legs.
Diabetics should wash their feet daily and dry them thoroughly. Remember to ensure that the spaces between the toes are kept dry too.
If you have dry skin, massage a little moisturising cream onto it, but not between the toes.
Socks are to be changed daily.
Toenails should be kept trimmed. When trimming toenails do it straight across and avoid trimming too close to the skin to avoid unnecessary injuries.
Shoes should be comfortable and not too tight a fit. Always feel inside shoes before putting them on as the reduced sensitivity in the feet prevents you from feeling sharp pbjects or pieces of grit under the feet.
The feet must be examined daily to look out for scratches, blisters, ulcers or any other wounds.
Diabetes should not go around barefoot.
It is important to remember not to apply any chemical agents to the feets such as corn or callous removers including corn plasters. These contain acids, which can be very dangerous to the diabetic patient.
Diabetics are also prone to certain eye diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma and even blindness (due to retinopathy). The incidence of cataracts is higher in diabetes and also it progresses at a faster rate in diabetics.
Glaucoma is also more common in diabetics. Early diagnosis and proper management is essential to prevent optic nerve damage and loss of vision as a consequence of the damage.
Diabetic retinopathy is one of the leading causes of blindness. The longer the person suffers from diabetes, the greater the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy which can lead to blindness.
go for annual eye check-ups.
carry out blood pressure checks routinely.
refer to an ophthalmologist promptly if there are visual problems.
Care on the teeth is also important. Diabetics should be careful of any lesions in the mouth or gums. These can easily become infected and cause a myriad of problems.
Diabetics shouls pay a 6 monthly visit to their dentist to ensure that all is well with their gums and teeth.