Diabetes, a prevalent global health concern, is a chronic condition characterized by a delicate balance of glucose levels in the body. Left unmanaged, it can lead to severe complications such as renal failure, retinopathy, and atherosclerosis. To mitigate these risks, it becomes imperative to attain specific target glucose levels through regular clinical and biological assessments, typically scheduled every 3-6 months. This article delves into the vital aspects of diabetes health maintenance, emphasizing the significance of routine monitoring and comprehensive care strategies.
Diabetes regular check-ups
Monitoring glucose levels is the cornerstone of diabetes management. Glucose levels can be measured with a finger-prick test or non-invasive blood glucose measuring technologies such as flash glucose monitors. It is routinely performed several times daily for insulin treatment to adjust the insulin dose and confirm hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia.
HbA1C, measured in the lab, usually every three months, reflects glucose levels over the past 12 weeks. Hence, it helps to have a more overall estimation of glucose levels. It is also correlated with the risk of developing some complications, such as retinopathy.
Standards of care advise for specific blood pressure targets. Achieving them and, hence, avoiding hypertension can help prevent atherosclerosis. Cholesterol is also involved in atherosclerosis and, therefore, associated with an increased risk of heart disease or stroke.
For this purpose, specific targeted cholesterol levels are defined.
Among the important laboratory check-ups, kidney function tests such as spot urinary albumin-to-creatinine ratio are the key to early detection of kidney impairment.
It is also important to regularly monitor ophthalmological conditions, particularly with an annual fundus examination.
Medication and Treatment Review
There’s no optimal diabetes management without a total collaboration of the patient with diabetes. The patient is the main actor in this course of the disease. Hence, regularly taking the medication, adopting and sticking with the treatment plan is the best way to achieve targeted glucose levels.
Diabetes medications can result, rarely, in some side effects depending on the type of medication. However, not interrupting the treatment and contacting the healthcare provider should always be the rule. Stopping diabetes treatment without an alternative can result in serious acute complications.
Regular check-ups allow healthcare providers to detect those side effects and evaluate the efficacy of medication. Dosage adjustments are usually made either during the start of the treatment change or regularly.
Lifestyle and Self-care Discussions
Aside from medication, lifestyle modifications are important not only to achieve targeted glucose levels but also to prevent complications. Following a personalized meal plan with the help of a dietitian will help reduce the risk of atherosclerosis, glucose imbalance and complications.
It is also important to maintain physical activity, which can greatly help manage diabetes. WHO recommends at least 30 minutes of physical activity three times a week. However, more regular exercise results in a better glucose balance, reduced stress levels and may help maintain emotional well-being·
Diabetes:M is a great tool to keep up with medication intake and diet plan. It provides users an easy way to monitor exercise, calorie intake, medication and glucose levels. Download Diabetes:M app free from here.
Taking care of the feet, looking for any lesions, signs of infection, toe deformities or changes in the appearance of the skin, such as dryness or redness, is also an important part of diabetes health maintenance. Since it may be difficult for some people to examine the underside of their feet, a mirror can be a great help here.
People with diabetes may encounter some medical emergencies, so they have to be prepared. If symptoms such as sweating, trembling, fatigue, and dizziness kick in – it is probably hypoglycemia. In this case, any physical activity should be stopped, glucose levels measured, and an immediate sugar intake should be the first step (1 cup of juice or sweetened beverage or simply sugar), followed by a slow sugar source such as whole wheat bread. Glucose levels should be measured 15 minutes after sugar intake. If symptoms of hypoglycemia persist, immediate contact with a healthcare provider should be taken.
Follow-Up and Continuity of Care
Diabetes is a manageable condition where regular check-ups are mandatory. If struggling with committing to the prescribed medical plan, communication with the medical team/healthcare provider is paramount. Commitment to the treatment plan limits complications that may lead to consultations, additional tests, or even hospitalization with a potential threat to life.
This situation may occur with associated pathologies such as arterial hypertension or other cardiac, renal or ocular pathologies requiring treatment. In the case of diabetes, it helps lower glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) and thus improves glycemic control.
In conclusion, diligent and regular monitoring, combined with active patient engagement, lies at the heart of effective diabetes management. The comprehensive approach outlined encompassing glucose level tracking, HbA1C assessments, blood pressure and cholesterol control, as well as kidney function and ophthalmological checks, forms a robust framework for maintaining targeted glucose levels and averting potential complications.
Adherence to prescribed medications, alongside personalized lifestyle modifications, including dietary adjustments and regular physical activity, plays a pivotal role in achieving optimal outcomes. Maintaining open lines of communication with healthcare providers is essential for timely adjustments to treatment plans, ultimately enhancing the overall well-being and quality of life for those managing diabetes. With dedication and vigilance, diabetes can be effectively managed, empowering people to lead healthy, fulfilling lives.