Nurses play a very huge role in diabetes treatment. Patients suffering from diabetes may need a nurse to help them plan their diet, exercise routine, medications and other aspects. If there are complications related to diabetes, those complications will also need appropriate and adequate care. Diabetes is basically an endocrine disease. It means that there are certain hormones in the body that are not at proper levels as they should be. Basically, the insulin levels are abnormal. So, there is a high level of sugars in the blood and also in the urine of a person who is suffering from diabetes.
Parts of the body affected by diabetes
Diabetes may be a disease that is caused because of hormonal problems, but the complications of diabetes are many and the disease can affect the eyes, kidneys, arteries, muscles and the nervous system. Current research findings show that the disease can affect many more parts of the body. Diabetes can even kill a person and in fact a person suffering from diabetes can suffer from diabetic coma and die.
Role of nurses in diabetes treatment and control
A nurse can help you to understand about diabetes and even hep in controlling the disease. This is a fact that has been confirmed by many researches and researchers. Let us learn about the control of diabetes and how a nurse helps in controlling the disease.
Nurse health educator / Diabetes educator
Health education is a very important aspect in preventive medicine. We have heard the adage ‘Prevention is better than cure’. This applies to no other disease as much as it does to diabetes. Prevention of diabetic complications is the key to longevity and also to diabetic control.
1. Food consumption/nutrition/Calorie intake monitoring: A nurse or a nutritionist would be the appropriate person who can help in diabetes treatment through diet. These professionals will help a diabetic individual to understand the amount of calories that are contained in foods and how much calories can be consumed by a person. Many people who understand little about the disease think that eating sugary stuff will cause the sugar levels to shoot up and eating other stuff cannot do much damage. The fact is to the contrary. Any food that is high in calories can kill a person. A regular monitoring of the foods consumed and the calories present in each item needs to be monitored. This will help in diabetic control.
2. Exercise : Exercises are very important to control diabetes. Exercises too help in controlling the calories that are stored in the body after food consumption. Regular exercises will help in burning the calories in the body and help in controlling diabetes. A nurse health educator will be able to guide you on when to perform exercises and also about what kind of exercises that need to be performed by you. Generally speaking, a brisk walk for about 30 minutes at least on 5 days a week would keep a person healthy and is the best natural diabetes treatment.
3. Hypoglycemia: One of the most important and life saving education provided by nurses to diabetic patients is about hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia or sudden drop in sugar levels can cause the affected person to suffer from diabetic coma and can even cause death within a few minutes, if left untreated. Sudden drop in sugar levels can occur sometimes after medication. Lifestyle including eating habits and excessive exercise also plays a role in causing hypoglycemia. When there is sudden drop in sugar levels in the blood, the brain does not obtain adequate nutrition and the person can go into brain death within about four minutes. So, a person affected by diabetes should always carry a pouch with some sweets / chocolates to provide a instant boost to the sugar level in the blood when they feel that they may become hypoglycemic.
A nurse diabetic educator would be the ideal person to help you in understanding more about diabetes. She will help in keeping the disease under control. Diabetes education would also help you in preventing various complications caused by the disease. Remember the health education on diabetes can even mean the difference between life and death in some situations!
Role of nurses in treating complications of diabetes
Each complication in diabetes could be life threatening. Some of the common complications and their treatments are listed here.
1. Diabetic wounds: Diabetes can lead to nerve damage. This nerve damage can cause loss off sensation in the feet. When there is no sensation, there will not be any pain sensation even when there is excessive stress on the tissues of the feet. This can cause lack of protective action, thus causing wounds in the legs. Once a wound occurs in a diabetic person, the diabetes treatment has to be modified to help in treatment of the wound too. Daily dressing, use of antibiotics and pressure relieving appliances need to be used. Lack of adequate care can lead to septicemia, organ failure and death.
2. Eye complications: The nerve damage that is a hallmark of diabetes can also cause damage to the nerves of the eye. If adequate treatment is not initiated to protect the eye, it can lead to blindness. Proper protection to the eye is needed and preventive aspects should be taught to the patients. Eye care includes vision testing at home to check if there is any vision problem, use of eye drops and also regular visits to an ophthalmologist.
3. Other complications: There are several other complications that can occur from time to time in a diabetic patient. Hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia are possible complications. Some people who enter diabetic coma can even lose their life. Similarly, kidneys can be affected and some may even suffer from kidney failure. Artery problems and circulatory problems can also lead to various complications in a diabetic patient. All these have to be adequately monitored and evaluated by a nurse to prevent such complications.