What To Consider When Taking Patients Through Diabetes Counseling

By Lisa Cole

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder caused by deficiencies in insulin hormone or inability of the body to utilize it. Its hallmark feature is abnormally high levels of blood glucose levels that may lead to immediate or long term complications. Being a chronic condition, patients have to be on medication or have to modify their lives as soon as the diagnosis has been made. In these article, we look at the main issues that should be addressed in diabetes counseling.

Counseling of patients with diabetes is an opportunity to educate them. They should be helped to learn as much as possible about their condition and the strategies which they can adopt to make their lives better. The process needs to be done regularly bearing in mind that this condition is lifelong and progress over time. Patients that are regularly counseled have been observed to be more adherent to prescribed treatments.

Just as is the case with other chronic illnesses, the diagnosis of diabetes is associated with significant psychological stress. It is not easy to accept that one has to make significant lifestyle adjustments in a bid to live with the condition. Some patients may end up with mental disorders such as anxiety or depression. It is important, therefore, that all the newly diagnosed access the services of a mental health expert.

There is a need to emphasize on the importance of having the right diet booth for type 1 and 2 diabetics. This ensures that the blood sugar levels are maintained within a normal range. Persons with diabetes should avoid taking sweetened drinks and sugary snacks. These have a high glycemic index which means that they have a potential to drastically increase blood sugar levels. The ideal diet contains lots of fruits, fresh vegetables, lean protein and whole grains.

Weight gain should be avoided at all costs. This is because excessive weight is a known risk factor for insulin resistance and worsening the condition. The patients need to be advised on the weight loss options that they have. Reducing caloric intake is one of the commonly used methods. 800 calories per day is the target. This strategy is effective for the short term and other options should be considered in the long term.

Regular physical exercise has numerous benefits. One of the direct benefits is weight loss which is desired change among diabetics. The other benefit is that increased muscular contraction experienced during physical activity increases the tissue uptake of glucose and this reduces the blood levels. Physical exercise that is deemed to be beneficial is that which includes intense sessions of not less than 30 minutes for at least 5 days in a week.

Patients that consume alcohol (especially in high quantities and on a regular basis) should be counseled on the same. In general, alcoholic beverages should be markedly or completely avoided if possible. Alcohol intake results in blood sugar levels. These fluctuations are much more erratic in persons taking oral hypoglycemic drugs or insulin. This is because the liver is overwhelmed by the metabolism of alcohol and cannot adequately break down these drugs.

Patients need to understand that follow up clinics are an important part of treatment. The clinics give the doctor an opportunity to identify any complications early and to intervene before complications set in. Comprehensive medical checkups should be done at least once every year.

About the Author: