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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.

Like many chronic illnesses, emotional health is an important part of treatment for this condition. Most cases of type 2 diabetes are made in adulthood and one of the biggest challenges that this brings with it is adjustment of the individual to the diagnosis. This is a possible trigger for stress and mental disorders such as depression and anxiety. Newly diagnosed diabetic patients will benefit from 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.

Excessive weight among diabetics is a risk factor for insulin resistance. Losing weight, in contrast, helps reduce blood sugar levels. Patients should be advised to keep their daily caloric intake at less than 800 per day. It is important to point out that this strategy is only effective in the short term and other measures have to be undertaken for long term weight control.

Engaging in regular physical exercise not only helps to lose weight but is also enhances glucose utilization by body tissues reducing its concentration in the blood. If one has never been involved in physical exercise before, they can start with simple routines such as brisk walking then increasing the intensity progressively. It is recommended that one engages in intense activity for a minimum of 30 minutes a day, for three to five days in a week.

Alcohol has a major impact on the levels of blood glucose. Since carbohydrates are a major constituent of alcoholic beverages, their metabolism causes an increase in glucose levels. The situation is likely to be a bit complicated if one is on insulin or oral glucose lowering agents. This is because alcohol and the drugs are all metabolized by the liver. The alcohol overwhelms the liver in some cases making it difficult to break down the drugs. Such drinks should be avoided completely if possible.

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.

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