Diabetes mellitus, commonly known as diabetes, is a metabolic disease that causes high blood sugar. Diabetes occurs when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. Blood glucose is your main source of energy and comes from the food you eat. Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps glucose from food get into your cells to be used for energy. With diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t effectively use the insulin it does make. Glucose then stays in your blood and doesn’t reach your cells. Over time, having too much glucose in your blood can cause health problems.
Untreated high blood sugar from diabetes can damage your nerves, eyes, kidneys, and organs. Although diabetes has no cure, you can take steps to manage your diabetes and stay healthy. Studies show it’s possible for some people to reverse diabetes. Through diet changes and weight loss, you may be able to reach and hold normal blood sugar levels without medication. This doesn’t mean you’re completely cured because Type 2 diabetes is an ongoing disease.
Patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes may discover that if they are overweight at diagnosis and then lose weight and begin regular physical activity, their blood glucose returns to normal. General symptoms of diabetes include increased hunger, increased thirst, weight loss, frequent urination, blurry vision, extreme fatigue, ‘sores that don’t heal.
Other symptoms in men include decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction, and poor muscle strength. For women with diabetes, other symptoms such as urinary tract infections, yeast infections, and dry, itchy skin can occur.
You can check your blood sugar level from time to time on your own using a Blood Glucose Monitor.
The BGCheck is an easy to use accurate blood glucose monitor.
FOOTCARE IN DIABETES MANAGEMENT
A diabetic foot is any pathology that results directly from peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and/or sensory neuropathy affecting the feet in diabetes mellitus; it is a long-term (or “chronic”) complication of diabetes mellitus. About half of all people with diabetes have some kind of diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage). There is a possibility of nerve damage in any part of the body, but nerves in the feet and legs are most often affected causing loss of feeling in them.
There’s a lot to manage if you have diabetes; checking your blood sugar, making healthy food, finding time to be active, taking medicines, going to doctor’s appointments. With all of these, your feet might be the last thing on your mind but daily care is one of the best ways to prevent foot complications. The signs of diabetic foot problems include increase swelling of legs or feet, change of skin color, burning or tingling sensation, lack of feeling in the feet, numbness in the toes, ingrown toenails, slow to heal sores, and cracks between toes.
You have to take care of your feet when you have diabetes. Poor foot care may lead to amputation of a foot or leg. If you take good care of your feet, you can prevent the most serious problems related to diabetes.
To avoid serious foot problems that could result in losing a toe, foot, or leg, there are a few guidelines: inspecting your feet daily, bath feet in lukewarm and be gentle feet, moisturize your feet but not between your toes, cut nails carefully, never treat corns or calluses yourself, wear a clean and dry sock, shake out your shoes and feel the inside before wearing, keep your feet warm and dry, never walk barefoot, take care of your diabetes, do not smoke, and get periodic foot exams.
ROLE OF NURSES IN DIABETES FOOT CARE
Education and prevention are the roles of the nursing team with the management of diabetes patients. These roles include giving advice to patients using behavior change and health coaching techniques, screening, prevention, and early detection of type 2 diabetes, and promoting self-care.
Nurses help diabetic patients to correct/reverse abnormal metabolic functions, prevent diabetic complications, help patients to manage the underlying cause of diabetes and the disease process, educate patients about diabetes, and how it affects the body, self-care, and necessary treatments.
Take care of your diabetes by working with your health care provider to keep your blood sugar at a healthy level. Get regular diabetic foot exams. You should get your feet checked at least once a year and more often if you or your provider finds a problem.
When nurses construct a relationship with patients or their families, they are rescuing patients from social isolation, terror, or the stigma of illness or helping family members cope with their loved ones’ illnesses. They save lives, prevent complications, prevent suffering, and save money.
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