Patient education about diabetes is the first task that newly diagnosed diabetics need to accomplish. They need to learn what causes diabetes as well as the problems that they can incur. They will also need to learn the areas that they will have to have self care responsibility for.
Diabetics self care responsibility include daily glucose monitoring, changing eating habits, starting an exercise plan, and what they need to do to cooperate with the members of their healthcare team. Care for diabetes includes monitoring, managing and control.
First and foremost is monitoring the disease. There are many monitoring devices on the market and many companies that produce monitoring devices. These companies will usually give newly diagnosed patients their first monitor free. The diabetic’s doctor’s staff can advise and teach the diabetic on using these devices. Glucose daily monitoring is the diabetic’s first line of defense.
Diet and nutrient will need to be managed as well. An exercise program also needs to be developed to maintain a healthy weight as well as for overall fitness. Exercise is important in keeping blood pressure under control as well as helping medication or insulin therapy work correctly.
Diabetics also need to be taught by medical professionals about the importance of managing their eye health, foot care health and good oral health as these can be problem areas for diabetic patients. Because of narrowing of blood vessels problems can develop with the eyes and diabetic patients need to have regular eye exams involving dilation of the eyes so the eye professional can better examine the blood vessels in the back of the eyes.
Another area needing education and management is oral hygiene especially gum health. So, diabetic patients need to have regular scheduled dental visits and learn good daily gum and teeth care.
The most important area of care is foot care. Diabetics have the most problems with their feet. This is caused by nerve damage in the feet and the narrowing of blood vessels in the legs. These two problems can cause a tiny cut to become extremely infected and lead to gangrene of the foot. Gangrene can lead to amputation of the foot or leg. But the good news is that all these problems can be prevented with proper foot care. Proper foot care includes regularly washing and inspecting the feet for small cuts, breaks in the skin, blisters, corns or calluses. Corns or calluses should be treated by medical or nursing staff. Small cuts should be treated with antibiotic ointments. It is extremely important to keep toe nails properly trimmed to avoid ingrown toenails as this can also be a source of infection or foot problems.
Diabetes management in primary care settings is where most diabetes management begins. This involves the primary care physician and the diabetic as partners leading the team and building a treatment plan.
Patient education about diabetes is the first task that newly diagnosed diabetics need in order to best be able to partner with their primary care physician.