DIABETES - CLINICAL OVERVIEW
Diabetes Mellitus is the most common form of diabetes affecting over one million Canadians. Every year, over 60,000 cases are diagnosed in Canada.
During the normal digestive process sugars and starches are converted into glucose. A normal pancreas produces insulin which acts on the glucose to permit it to enter the body's cell to provide energy. In the diabetic, the pancreas either fails to provide any insulin, or provides insufficient quantity or quality to meet the body's needs. The lack of or inadequate supply of insulin, results in a surplus of glucose remaining in the bloodstream. When the level of glucose exceeds the kidney's ability to re-process it, the glucose is "spilled" into the urine. This spillage level varies from person to person and is known as their particular "renal threshold." If this condition is not corrected the starved body cells resort to the body's own stores of fat for nourishment. When this stage is reached ketones are produced which are toxic and upset the body's chemical balance, and can result in diabetic coma and death.
Frequent symptoms of diabetes include: frequent urination, excessive thirst, tiredness, weakness, loss of weight, blurred vision and tingling in hands and feet. Customers who complain of some or all of these should seek professional attention. There are thousands of people unaware of their condition as symptoms often go unnoticed.
There are two types of diabetics:
Type 1: Insulin dependent. Type 1 diabetes occurs when the pancreas produces very little to no insulin and must therefore be supplied from an outside source. It is found more frequently in children and young adults.
Type 2: Insulin independent. Type 2 diabetes may be controlled by a restricted diet and adjusted lifestyle. Usually found in people over 40 years of age. If things get progressively worse, the client will quickly become insulin dependent, thus monitoring the situation closely is vital.
Disposable Syringe: The syringe has come a long way over the years, but its basic design remains the same. The barrel of the syringe holds the insulin, the plunger draws in and pushes the insulin out, and the needle punctures the skin. Insulin syringes come in four different sizes which hold 25, 30, 50, or 100 units of insulin. The size of the syringe that is purchased will depend on the dose of insulin required.
Insulin Pen Injectors: To use a pen injector, insulin comes in cartridge form, is loaded into the injector and a disposable needle is attached. Errors may occur during measuring of insulin, but pens inject correct dosage every time. The amount of insulin to be dispensed is then set on a dial, and that amount only will be expelled. Once the cartridge is empty, it is then replaced. Pens are compact and portable and can be used discreetly.
Blood Glucose Monitors: Testing for blood sugar can help manage diabetes. Blood testing is quick and easy, and results are accurate for the point in time that you are testing. Suggested times for testing are before meals and three hours after supper. Most meters are portable so testing can be done almost anywhere. Instructions should always be given to a client when a blood glucose monitor is purchased, as using the meter incorrectly can lead to inaccurate results.
Lancing Devices: Used for blood testing, these devices poke your finger making it easier to get blood for measuring sugar levels. Lancing devices should be easy to use, they should load easily, and the lancet should also be easy to remove without having to touch it.
Glucose Tablets: A source of fast energy when required.
Dietetic Food Products: An increasing number of food products are available that are sugar free and suitable for consumption by diabetics.
Diabetic Socks: Diabetic foot care instructions include the wearing of cotton or wool socks. Foot wear to be changed once daily.