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Services for Professionals

This section contains information specifically for healthcare professionals that have an interest in Diabetes

Services for Professionals

Kids

This section is specially designed for kids and contains a great interactive tool to help you and your family learn more about diabetes.

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Managing Diabetes

As is already known, controlling blood glucose is important for avoiding hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia-blood glucose lows and highs.

Hyperglycemia

Hyperglycemia, or high blood glucose, occurs when levels rise above your recommended range. A healthcare professional managing diabetes will help determine the proper healthy blood glucose range.

High blood glucose can be caused by many things, including:

  • Eating too much food
  • Little or no physical activity
  • Not taking medications
  • Stress, infection or illness
  • Bad or spoiled insulin

High blood glucose can cause serious problems and is a major cause of long-term diabetes complications. Some warning signs of high blood glucose include:

  • Tiredness or fatigue
  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry mouth or skin
  • Slow-healing cuts and sores
  • Unexplained weight loss

It is important to keep blood glucose level within the recommended target range set by the treating doctor. Checking blood glucose often may help avoid hyperglycemia. High blood glucose levels can damage many parts of the body, including eyes, heart and toes.

Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia occurs when blood glucose level drops too low.

The body responds to low blood glucose levels with warning signs that may be different in each person. Some warning signs of low blood glucose are feeling:

  • Weak
  • Shaky
  • Irritable or confused

Low blood glucose may occur if meal or snack is delayed or missed, after vigorous physical activity, or if too much insulin is given. In a person without diabetes, the pancreas will stop producing insulin if the blood glucose level falls below normal. In a person with diabetes, the insulin they inject or pump keeps working, even when the blood glucose level is low.

Low blood glucose may be caused by the following:

  • Not following the meal plan
  • Too much exercise or exercising for a long time without eating a snack
  • Too much medication or a change in the time one takes medication
  • Stress
  • Side effects from other medications
  • Alcohol intake, especially without food

Regular testing may help avoid hypoglycemia. Low blood glucose can happen very quickly, so one should be prepared to act fast to correct it. If untreated, hypoglycemia can cause serious effects, such as seizures or unconsciousness. By keeping blood glucose level in the target range decided by treating physician, one can delay or prevent long-term complications. The good news is that along with treating doctor, one can easily be able to lessen the impact of diabetes complications on life.

This section lists some of the more common diabetes-related complications, their symptoms and treatments, and some steps doctor may recommend to help reduce risk.

Foot Complications

Proper foot care should be an important part of a diabetic's daily routine. High blood glucose levels can damage the blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients to the legs and feet. This can lead to nerve damage, poor circulation, infections and foot deformities. Diabetes is often associated with foot problems and amputation. Not including those caused by accidents or trauma, more than 60% of lower-limb amputations performed each year are on people with diabetes.

What to Look For
The American Diabetes Association recommends all individuals with diabetes should receive an annual foot examination to identify high-risk foot conditions. People with one or more high-risk foot conditions should be evaluated more frequently for the development of additional risk factors. People with neuropathy should have a visual inspection of their feet at every visit with a health care professional.

Doctor visit is required in case one experiences any of the following symptoms:

  • Pain or less sensitivity in the leg or foot
  • Cuts or breaks in the skin
  • Ingrown nails
  • Changes in the shape of foot
  • Corns or calluses

Healthy Diabetic Foot-Care Habits
By keeping blood glucose level within the range recommended by doctor and paying special attention to feet every day, one can be able to prevent long-term complications. For healthy toes and feet, following these simple steps helps:

  • Check feet regularly - look for redness, sores, swelling etc.
  • Wear comfortable shoes that fit
  • Wash your feet daily with soap and lukewarm water
  • Moisturize feet daily to avoid dry skin
  • Trim toenails straight across and not too short
  • Get medical advice early if one notices any change or problem

Centers for complications Control and Prevention. National diabetes fact sheet, 2007. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/pubs/pdf/ndfs_2007.pdf.

Preventive foot care in people with diabetes (Technical Review). Diabetes Care 21:2161 - 2177, 1998. Available at http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/27/suppl_1/s63.full

National Institute of Diabetes and digestive and Kidney Complications. Prevent diabetes problems: keep your feet and skin healthy." Available at: http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/complications_feet/.


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