Diabetes is a big concern for many people as it is a direct result of leading an unhealthy lifestyle. It can result due to age, family history and obesity as well and the exact cause of this disease is not known.
Diabetes mellitus is a disease in which the pancreas is not able to produce enough insulin. Insulin is a hormone that enables glucose/sugar to pass from the blood into the blood cells. An imbalance in insulin will result in too little or too much sugar in the bloodstream. This will cause diabetic complications such as poor blood circulation, disabilities, coma or even death. Also, low insulin levels are not enough to convert carbohydrates into energy. When this happens, the body starts burning fats to produce energy. In this process, the fats burn and create a by-product called ketones, which is harmful to the body.
There are two types of diabetes:
Type I diabetes (Insulin dependent diabetes): In this type, the immune system of the body destroys the cells that create insulin. As a result, the patient needs to take insulin regularly to maintain the blood sugar levels.
Type II diabetes (Non-insulin dependent diabetes): In this type, the body has low insulin levels. The patient needs medication and a change in lifestyle to manage this diabetes.
Patients with Type I and II diabetes need a healthy diet to manage their condition and ensure a proper functioning of the body. It includes taking the right amount of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.
Diabetes can result in serious conditions such as kidney failure or blindness. Therefore, the CNA should be aware of the following symptoms of diabetes in the patient.
- Excessive urination
- Excessive thirst
- Night sweats
- Fruity breath
Diabetes can be managed with a healthy diet and exercise. The healthcare provider prescribes a diabetic diet that provides the required calories and also prevents an imbalance in the blood sugar levels.
Diabetic patients need to consume snacks in between their meals to maintain their glucose levels. The CNA should ensure that the diabetic patients follow the diet plan strictly, as patients have a difficult time prescribing to the diet. Any imbalance in their diet will directly affect their health and make their condition worse. It is a good practice to involve the patient’s family members in the diet plan so that they do not bring unhealthy food items for the patient.
The CNA should take the following actions when providing care for a diabetic patient:
- Praise the patient for following the diet. This will encourage the patient to stick to the prescribed diet.
- Observe any changes in the patient’s dietary habits such as a decrease in appetite. Report it immediately to the nurse.
- Assess the patient’s lower extremities regularly for signs of redness, pain, and swelling.
- Maintain daily hygiene and ensure that the patient is clean and dry. There should be no leftover moisturizer between the toes.
- Monitor the blood sugar levels and report any abnormal findings immediately to the nurse.
Poor blood circulation in diabetic patients reduces wound healing. Ensure tasks such as nail cutting are performed carefully to avoid any injuries.