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An overview of diabetes - National Diabetes Week

July, 2018

July, 2018

Diabetes Australia describes diabetes as a “serious complex condition which can affect the entire body. Diabetes requires daily self care and if complications develop, diabetes can have a significant impact on quality of life and can reduce life expectancy.” It has been shown that while there is no known cure it is possible to manage the condition.

The three main types of diabetes are type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes.

When a person has diabetes, their body is unable to maintain a healthy level of glucose in their blood. Unhealthy levels of glucose in the blood can lead to a range of both long and short-term health complications including blindness, heart attack, kidney failure and amputation. Diabetes has also been linked to many mental health conditions including anxiety and depression.

Common symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Being more thirsty than usual
  • Passing more urine
  • Feeling tired and lethargic
  • Always feeling hungry
  • Having cuts that heal slowly
  • Itching, skin infections
  • Blurred vision
  • Unexplained weight loss (type 1)
  • Gradually putting on weight (type 2)
  • Mood swings
  • Headaches
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Leg cramps

Early diagnosis and an ongoing management plan for the condition has been proven to help reduce the risks associated with diabetes-related complications.

If you are providing care for a person with diabetes it is important to understand the condition well and to take into account the specific medical advice provided for the individual. Examples of care may include:

  • Ensure regular reduced saturated fat meals; spread evenly during the day
  • Monitor glucose levels and intake
  • Check feet daily for changes or problems
  • Eyes should be checked regularly for early signs of damage
  • Take medication as prescribed
  • Regular medical reviews by health care team
  • Monitor for signs of hypoglycaemia
  • Encouraging exercise (as part of a recommended medical plan)

With so many Australian’s with diabetes, if you work in the community care industry or are a carer it is almost certain that you will at some point work with someone with diabetes. Taking the time to understand the individual’s ongoing medical management plan is an essential part of delivering the highest level of care.

Please note the above article is of a general nature only and should not be relied upon as medical advice. For more information about diabetes please visit www.diabetesaustralia.com.au and speak with your own GP for more information.