How can the patients with diabetes participate in their own care? 0

11.10.2016

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How can the patients with diabetes participate in their own care?

Self-care

in diabetes has been defined as an evolutionary process of development of knowledge or awareness by learning to survive with the complex nature of the diabetes in a social context. Because the vast majority of day-to-day care in diabetes is handled by patients and/or families, there is an important need for reliable and valid measures for self-management of diabetes.

Individuals with diabetes have been shown to make a dramatic impact on the progression and development of their disease by participating in their own care. Despite this fact, compliance or adherence to these activities has been found to be low, especially when looking at long-term changes.

Role of clinicians in promoting self-care is vital. In a study done in Scotland, it was suggested that the role of the health professional is crucial to patient’s understanding of their blood glucose fluctuations with an appropriate self-care action.

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The problem is multi-faceted and therefore a systematic and an integrated approach is required for promoting self-care practices among diabetic patients to avert any long-term complications.

AADE: The American Association of Diabetes Educators has condensed all the things someone with diabetes needs to do into seven categories. The categories are behavior-based. This means that not it is not sufficient that you understand information, you have to be able to translate the information into positive self-care behaviors that can help control your diabetes.

These are:

  1. healthy eating
  2. being physically active
  3. monitoring of blood sugar
  4. compliant with medications
  5. good problem-solving skills
  6. healthy coping skills
  7. risk-reduction behaviours

All these seven behaviours have been found to be positively correlated with good glycemic control, reduction of complications and improvement in quality of life.

Healthy eating

 Having diabetes does not mean you have to give up your favourite foods or stop eating in restaurants. In fact, there is nothing you can’t eat. But you need to know that the foods you eat affect your blood sugar. You should eat regular meals, think about the amount you eat and make food choices to help control your diabetes better and prevent other health problems.

Being active

is an important part of being healthy. It helps you to lose weight, but it does more than that. It gets your heart rate up, burns calories and strengthens your muscles and bones. As a result, being active: lowers your blood sugar, lowers cholesterol, improves blood pressure, lowers stress and anxiety, improves mood.

Monitoring

You also need to monitor your blood sugar to see if you are within your target goals. This helps you make choices in eating and being active so your body can perform at its best. By regularly monitoring, you can quickly find out if your blood sugar is too high or too low, get it on track and prevent long-term health problems. How often you need to monitor your blood sugar depends on the type of diabetes you have, whether you take oral medication or insulin and more. You may need to monitor only a few times a week or up to three times a day. 

Monitoring is an important way to check your health and help you to make changes to feel better. Because diabetes can affect your whole body, your healthcare providers should also regularly monitor your:n

  • Heart health (blood pressure, weight and cholesterol level)
  • Kidney health (urine and blood testing)
  • Eye health (eye exams)
  • Foot health (foot exams and sensory testing)

Take your medication

Like many people with diabetes, you may need to take medication to help keep your blood sugar level steady. Diabetes increases your risk for other health conditions, such as heart or kidney related problems, so you may need to take medicine to help with those, too.

Because each medication can affect how the others work or cause other problems, it’s important to tell your doctor about all of the medications you are taking, including over-the-counter medications, dietary supplements, vitamins and herbs.

You should know why are you taking these medications, what will they do to you, how you should fit the in your everyday schedule, and what to do if they have side effects. Talk to a diabetes educator and consider asking these questions.

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Problem solving

When you have diabetes, you learn to plan ahead to be sure you maintain blood sugar levels within your target range goals – not too high, not too low. That means figuring out when and what you will eat for meals and snacks, when you will monitor blood sugar and how to fit in exercise. 

No matter how well you plan, unexpected things happen that can drive your blood sugar in the wrong direction. When it happens – because it will – you need to know how to problem-solve and think through how to prevent it from happening again. Also, your diabetes needs may change over time, requiring you to make adjustments because previous solutions no longer work.

Diabetes educators can help you figure out how to problem solve – in general and for specific issues you may be facing. 

Reducing Risks 

Taking control of your diabetes will help you head off the complications that can come with it. You can reduce your risk of heart attacks, stroke, damage to your kidneys and nerves, and loss of vision by keeping your blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure in check.

Recommendations to reduce risks are: Don’t smoke, see your doctor regularly, visit the eye doctor at least once a year, don’t forget the dentist, take care of your feet, listen to your body!

Healthy coping with stress

 Life is filled with stress. There’s the daily kind and there are also more serious issues.  Add in the challenges of managing diabetes, and stress sometimes can feel overwhelming. It’s important to find healthy ways to cope so you don’t turn to harmful habits such as smoking, overeating, drinking alcohol or being less active. This is especially true if you have diabetes. Having a lot of stress can increase your blood sugar levels, make you feel more negative and may lead to bad decisions.

Aim to find healthy ways to cope that work with your lifestyle, like: hobbies, being physically active, meditating, finding a support group. 

 

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