Last Updated: 15th December, 2020
Diabetes Management: According to the International Diabetes Federation, over 72 million adults in India has diabetes and the prevalence of diabetes in Indians is 8.8%, which means out of every 100 individuals at least eight people suffer from the condition. Moreover, it also has a high rate of morbidity and mortality.
Diabetes is a known risk factor of various health problems such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, obesity, and even cancer. But what remains understated is the impact of the disease on the family, friends and relatives of a person suffering from diabetes.
Yes! Diabetes not only impacts the physical health, but also affects the mental health of the carers who play a key role in the diabetes management and prevention. Carers can be anyone who helps take care of a person needing medical assistance. They can be parents, siblings, children, spouses, and partners. Let’s focus on the role of carers in promoting good health for the patients as well as themselves to lead a healthy life.
Role Of Carers In The Diabetes Management
Carers are the individuals who almost always effectively manage any and all aspects of diabetes management/care, especially the case with children, elderly people and people who might have recently been diagnosed with diabetes.
Right from taking medications on time to keeping a tab on the healthcare appointment, carers do everything. Here are common concerns many carers have and the word of advice they should follow to help their loved ones control diabetes.
What’s The Perfect Diabetic Diet For Diabetes Management?
Eating habits play a vital role in blood sugar control. Carers must ensure healthy meals for the patients, which includes diet less in salt, sugar, and oil or as advised by the dietitian or nutritionist. They need to ensure that the diabetics eat fresh fruits and veggies and say no to processed foods as they increase the caloric intake.
Make absolutely sure you don’t ever skip meals with diabetes. They must include foods rich in fiber and protein as it helps in the slow release of glucose, thus helping a diabetic to control blood glucose levels. During festivities and parties, keep an eye on diabetics and make sure they follow portion control and avoid eating sweets.
If diabetic patients find it difficult to adopt dietary recommendations, then it would be sensible to choose your own dietitian’s custom diet and lifestyle strategy to keep carbohydrate levels in check.
By doing so, a carer can not only ensure that each and every person in the family, including the diabetics eats healthily and stays healthy. This way the blood glucose level of the patient can be managed and if anyone in the family is pre-diabetic they can follow the diet to prevent diabetes and diabetes management.
Diabetes Management With Medication: How Can Blood Sugar Be Reduced?
Should never ever diabetic patients misses their prescribed medications. So to make it easy for you to remember the timings of the medications, carers can buy a pill box. This way it will be easy for the person to keep a tab on the medications for an entire week without worrying about missing a dose. This makes sense, especially if you are a diabetic and also suffer from other health problems such as kidney disease or heart disease.
Another important tip that can help is to set an alarm on your phone as a reminder for taking MEDs. This not only helps you to take medicines on time but can also help you to never skip a dose. However, if you feel that the dosage or timings of the medication need to be changed, ask your doctor to change the medications but never self-medicate.
Why Would Patients With Diabetes Ought To Take Care Of Their Foot?
Persons with diabetes are required to check their feet each and every day for every kind of trauma concussion. This is because diabetics might suffer an injury and may not even know about it until it gets infected or turns severe. If the person fails to do so, then either the family members or the carers must ensure this without fail.
Also, diabetics must avoid fomentation as they might not detect even a minor burn due to diabetic neuropathy. Any signs of foot injury, such as redness, swelling, or pus should not be ignored. Moisture the legs at home as going in for a pedicure or foot massage can increase the risk of infections due to cuts or injury.
How Often Should Diabetes Patients Go For A Checkup?
Carers must ensure that the patient strictly follows the diet and medication recommendations advised by a doctor along with routine follow-ups. Taking medications can help you to keep the blood glucose level in control, but if you fail to keep up with your doctor’s appointment it might increase your risk of diabetes-related complications.
Even if you have a blood glucose monitor at home, it is wise to consult a doctor and get a routine lab test every six months or as advised by the doctor.
Patients with diabetes must therefore be examined once in every six months and get their eyes examined. This is because changes in the glucose levels can impair the nerves in the eyes and lead to glaucoma, a condition that can cause permanent loss of vision.
The same must be true of having a kidney function screening every year because it enables the physician to locate out if any differences in kidney function and identify kidney disorders in the initial phases if there are any.
Could Diabetes Trigger Mental Health Issues?
Last but not least is the mental health of a patient with diabetes. The moment a person is diagnosed with diabetes, he goes through a lot of emotional trauma before finally accepting the condition. Researches have already shown that substantial symptoms of depression impair about 1 in 4 adults with type 1 as well as type 2 diabetes.
Although the exact cause of depression in diabetics is not known, diabetics go through mood swings which can impact their mental health. Hence, it is important for the carers to keep a close tab on the diabetic patients to look for symptoms of depression.
Several of the typical symptoms of always being agitated and feeling depressed for a considerable amount of time, abrupt fluctuations of temperament, having a panic attack or miserable, feeling fatigued on a span of days must also be taken more seriously.
If a person experience any of these symptoms, it is wise to consult a doctor and nip it in the bud as depression is a serious condition and should not be ignored.
Diabetes Management: A Word Of Advice For Carers
It goes without saying that carers have to be on their toes when it comes to diabetes management.
For a child with diabetes, a carer (usually the parents) has to be involved with day-to-day care, including checking the blood sugar level, injecting insulin or giving MEDs and adjusting insulin levels if using an insulin pump as advised.
For older adults suffering from diabetes, knowing about the signs of high and low to control blood glucose levels might be difficult, and hence a carer has to know these signs and take proper action in case of emergency.
In addition, a carer has to arrange periodic physician consultations and maintain a tab onto the stage of sugar (whether through mobile applications or by retaining a diabetes management notebook).
So, given the loads of responsibilities a carer has to fulfill, here are a few word of advice for carers to make their work to manage.
- Learn more about the condition by reading about the condition and its complications online. In case of any doubt, get your queries answered by your expert. This includes knowing when to check and control blood glucose levels, the lifestyle changes to follow, the type of glucometer to use, etc.
- Whenever required, ask for assistance. If you are not able to follow the recommendations given by your doctor, ask your friends, relatives and other diabetics for a word of advice to tackle the condition. It can include foods to eat and avoid, how much to eat, how often to exercise, etc.
- Understand exactly the downs and the peaks. Diabetes may make them vulnerable from all of the heart disease and obesity to psychosis for several health issues. Hence, learn to accept the fact and ensure you help patient to control blood glucose levels.
- Go for appointments with the patient. This can help you to know what extra precautions to take and what changes you need to make to ensure the proper diabetes management.
- Enforce the patient’s dietary structure. This can not only make you more cautious when it comes to eating healthy but sharing the same fitness plan can help you to ease stress and stay healthy. Lifestyle changes become habits when made together. So even by e-consultation, you can also get eating habits-related advice.
- Talk to other carers and also let the patient connect with other diabetics. Sharing the experiences can make it easy to deal with diabetes and understand more about the condition. You could very well seek professional help to social groups with diabetes management or online communities.
So now, let’s do our bit to help towards diabetes management to their condition and lead a healthy life.