Diabetes is one of the trickier diseases out there. Not everyone with it even knows they have it, and those who do have it can get worse and have severe complications if they’re not careful. That’s part of the reason the team at Accredited Home Care wants people to be especially aware of diabetes this time of year.
Home health care professionals prefer to make sure people are aware of this health condition all year long, but the holidays can be especially challenging in terms of an increase of less familiar food and drinks plus a decrease in many people being as physically active as they are in the warmer times of the year.
There are certainly more reasons to stay indoors, get festive and be less mobile, all of which can aggravate existing conditions.
And, for advanced sufferers or those who don’t watch their diets or sugar levels so rigorously, they can increase their risk of damage to extremities, nerve damage or even more conditions that require hospitalization and professional care. People with diabetes are at a higher risk for other serious health problems such as heart disease, kidney failure, neuropathy and more.
The American Diabetes Association encourages everyone to learn more about the different types of diabetes, ways to spot if you might have it, and how to manage it if you do have it.
Depending on which type and the condition of it, it may just require watching your diet by eating more of certain foods and avoiding others, along with trying to exercise regularly. Others may require regular injections of insulin or even a steady pump.
The ADA has declared November to be American Diabetes Month. We’re toward the end of the month, but the effort can certainly continue into December and 2018. This year’s campaign is focusing on people with diabetes, who are considered heroes because how many of them go above and beyond to try to manage their care and live as normal lives as possible.
The organization praised everyone with diabetes or that is touched by it, such as family members or caregivers, and invited them to all take stands. This may inspire others to come forward – not only does good management help individual conditions it also reduces the overall cost and demand on the country’s already burdened medical system.
November is also another diabetes-related occasion: Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month. The American Academy of Ophthalmology has found that about one-third of the 29 million Americans who have diabetes don’t know they have it which means they are at greater risk of vision loss.
The month’s focus is to get people aware of early signs of diabetes-related optical problems, which can be everything from cataracts to glaucoma to diabetic retinopathy, a serious condition caused by blood vessels in the retina becoming damaged from high blood sugar levels. This can lead to blood and other fluids leaking into the retina and other parts of the eye, and could eventually impact vision and even cause blindness.
The risk of this can also be decreased by taking care of your diabetes, which can include annual visits to an eye care professional.
Watching for changes
People with diabetes may try to manage their disease well, but other health conditions or age may still cause their condition to change especially insulin levels. People may not be aware of this gradual change either; it may take a caregiver, family member or aide to notice if something is different or if the person is acting unusual, or displaying other symptoms of progressive diabetes.
Here are some items to look for:
- Blurred vision or more ‘floaters.’ These are both possible signs of diabetic retinopathy, especially if they’re only in one eye and for a prolonged period of time.
- Loss of feeling. Neuropathy, which is caused by damage to nerve fibers by high glucose levels, can affect any part of the body.
- Reproductive system infections. Women of any age are especially susceptible to urinary tract or yeast infections.
- Change in breath. Someone with changing glucose levels may experience a more fruity smell.
- Increased thirst and hunger.
- Frequent need to urinate.
- Weight changes with no significant cause, especially an increase.Some symptoms, such as increased irritation, increased fatigue or increased feelings of nausea, can be signs of a variety of changing health conditions, when one’s body knows there’s something different. They both can be associated with diabetes.
Home health care can help
Home health care professionals are familiar with diabetes and how it can progress over time. The team at Accredited Home Care can provide suggestions on modifying a management plan as well as working with the client’s primary provider for appropriate treatment and possibly different medication options.
Part of the management plan can include the services of a dietitian or someone similar who specializes in nutrition, or a physical therapist to put together an exercise plan.
For more answers about diabetes management methods, visit Accredited Home Care.