Friday, 19 November 2010

Learn the Basics of Diabetes Care

Learn the Basics of Diabetes Care

November is Diabetes Awareness Month. Described in simple terms, diabetes is a chronic disease marked by high levels of sugar in the blood. It is a lifelong condition that has no cure.

There are three basic classifications of the disease: Gestational diabetes, Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes.

Symptoms vary with the classification. Generally, high blood levels of glucose can cause several problems including blurred vision, excessive thirst, fatigue, frequent urination, hunger and weight loss.

However, because Type 2 diabetes develops slowly, some people with high blood sugar experience few if any symptoms.

Symptoms of Type 1 diabetes include fatigue, increased thirst, increased urination, nausea, vomiting and weight loss despite an increase in appetite.

People with Type 1 diabetes often develop symp-toms over a short period of time. Unfortunately, the condition is often diagnosed in an emergency.

Symptoms of Type 2 diabetes include blurred vision, fatigue, increased appetite, increased thirst and increased urination.

Immediate goals are to treat diabetic ketoacidosis and high blood glucose levels. Because the onset of Type 1 diabetes is sudden and the symptoms severe, people who are diagnosed in an emergency are likely to go to the hospital.

Long-term treatment goals are reducing the symp-toms and to prevent diabetes-related complications such as amputation of limbs, blindness, heart disease and kidney failure, all of which can have deadly consequences.

The ultimate goal, of course, is to keep you alive. To do that requires careful and regular self-testing of blood glucose levels, education, exercise, foot care, meal planning, controlling weight and medication or use of insulin.

Remember, there is no cure for diabetes. Treatment is the only option. Learning these skills will help prevent the need for emergency care: how to recognize and treat high blood sugar, what to eat and when, how to take insulin or oral medication, how to test for and record blood glucose, how to adjust insulin or food intake, and changing exercise and eating habits.

Knowing the fundamentals of care, understanding how the disease can cause long-term health problems and learning new and improved ways to treat the dis-ease as new methods are developed are the best ways to control and minimize diabetes and its impact on your life.

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