Diabetes has become a widespread disease for many Americans today as many people are leading an unhealthy lifestyle.
Diabetes mellitus is a disease known to affect the endocrine system where the use of the carbohydrates from the food is not used efficiently. This is due to the inability of the pancreas to produce enough insulin that is the carrier of carbohydrates into the body or insulin is not used properly in the conversion of carbohydrates to energy.
Due to not enough amount of energy being produced, the body tries to burn fat as an alternative. The by-product of fat which is called ketones is produced which can be dangerous if in an imbalanced levels.
Several factors can contribute to diabetes although the exact cause of the condition is still not known. Factors such as age, family history and obesity may lead to diabetes.
Different Diabetes Types
There are two common types of diabetes- type I also known as insulin dependent and type II which is known as non-insulin dependent diabetes.
In type I diabetes, residents having those needs to take insulin from time to time in order to control their blood sugar since the body’s immune system are destroying cells that manufactures insulin.
Type II diabetes is diagnosed when the body is resistant to insulin and sometimes has low insulin levels. This type of diabetes can be controlled through medication and change in lifestyle. Both types need a thorough meal plan with the right amount of proteins, carbohydrates and fat in order to maintain functioning of the body.
Symptoms of Diabetes
People who have diabetes have signs of excessive urination, night sweats, excessive thirst and irritability. A serious complication to diabetes is blindness, failure in the kidney, nerve damages and many others.
Even with treatment, once diabetes progresses and cannot be controlled the mentioned complications may arise. Disability from diabetes can also occur due to poor blood circulation. This can lead to low healing process and even amputation. A high blood sugar also (called hyperglycemia) or the severely low amounts of blood sugar (called hypoglycemia) can cause a person to fall in the state of coma, which can then lead to death.
Residents with high or low blood sugar experience symptoms like irritability, confusion, shallow or deep breathing, fruity breath, cold or hot skin and many others.
It is important as caregiver to be observant of these possible signs in order to immediately work out a plan before it can be too late. Residents with diabetes need to have a diet appropriate for their condition (known as diabetic diet) in order to meet the required calories that they need while also preventing spikes or unsafely low level of blood sugar.
They also need snacks in between their meals in order to continue the supply of glucose that the body needs in order to prevent hypo or hyperglycemia. Making sure that residents follow the recommended dietary plan of care is quite a challenge as residents may have difficulty with it.
Residents may be overeating or not eating the foods recommended thus an imbalance in the diet can be observed making their condition worse. Residents or even their loved ones may be the ones who are providing them with non allowed foods. That is why it is important to involve family members in diet care plan and also keep them informed about diabetes. This can help in order for them to understand the situation and therefore help in not allowing prohibited foods.
Residents who will be able to follow the care plan should be praised of their accomplishments while still monitoring them. Be very observant of the residents decrease in appetite and snacks as it may indicate eating something beforehand. Report change in appetite to the nurse in order to keep the resident safe.
When you provide care for the diabetic residents, always make sure that you should also assess the skin of the resident daily especially areas such as the lower extremities in signs of pain, wound, redness, swelling and others.
Diabetic residents may have poor circulation which could be decreasing their wound healing and senses, especially pain. Make sure that residents are always clean and dry with no moisturizer or skin lotion applied in the middle of toes. Since cutting nails is part of the daily hygiene, make sure that proper cutting in order to avoid injuries to resident.
Do not remove the corns and calluses as they may become a wound for diabetic residents due to poor circulation! Since residents can have problems like diabetic neuropathy, it is important for caregivers to be extra sensitive for the residents needs.
This means that the CNA should make sure of the residents’ safety procedures like testing the water temperature first before using it to bathe the resident. Promote the resident’s independence in all aspects of care in order to build self-confidence.
If required by your employer, monitor blood sugar of diabetic residents and report signs of abnormal levels to the nurse in order to solve the problem immediately!