Today, diabetes is one of the most widely-spread diseases that affect the life of millions of people nationwide. In actuality, diabetes is considered to be a chronic disease which needs the effective treatment and maintenance of the health of patients. At the same time, patients with diabetes are always vulnerable to the consistent deterioration of their health under the impact of the disease because the existing technologies and methods of diagnosis and treatment do not always allow health care professionals to forecast the consistent deterioration of the patient’s health. In such a situation, patients with diabetes should be very careful and follow recommendations of health care professionals to maximize the effectiveness of the treatment and to minimize the negative impact of the disease on health of patients.
At the same time, the treatment of diabetes needs a lot of efforts from the part of both heath care professionals and family members, who can take care of patients suffering from diabetes. In fact, the assistance of care-givers to patients with diabetes is essential because often they have difficulties with performing actions that seem to be routine for people, who do not have diabetes. For instance, people with diabetes are limited in their physical activities. Therefore, nurses and other care-givers should come prepared to provide patients with diabetes with a long-term care nursing and health care services. In this regard, the provision of long-term care services should involve not only medication and basic health care services but also rehabilitation and psychological help to patients with diabetes.
Definition of the disease
In actuality, diabetes is one of the most widely-spread diseases. Traditionally, specialists (Rother 2007) define diabetes as a set of metabolic diseases related to incapability of human body to regulate the amount of sugar, specifically glucose, in blood. Basically, all types of diabetes are treatable but diabetes type one and two last for the lifetime of patients. the type one diabetes implies that the body fails to produce the sufficient amount of insulin, whereas type two diabetes means that the body stops to produce insulin at all. At the same time, often pregnant women may also suffer from diabetes, which is known as gestational diabetes. This type of diabetes normally occurs in the second half of the pregnancy and may be treated successfully. As a rule, the gestational diabetes goes away after the delivery.
On analyzing causes of diabetes, it is worth mentioning the fact that diabetes is mainly provoked by the lifestyle and genetics of patients. What is meant here is the fact that some patients are predisposed to the development of diabetes genetically because their ancestors suffered from diabetes that increases the risk of the development of diabetes consistently. At the same time, the lifestyle of an individual can provoke the fast development of diabetes along with genetic factors. In this respect, it is worth mentioning the fact that the sedative lifestyle contributes consistently to the development of diabetes. In addition, such negative factors as alcohol consumption, smoking, drug abuse, low physical activities and other negative factors can contribute to the development of diabetes.
Furthermore, along with genetics and lifestyle, it is necessary to take into consideration some diseases and complications associated with diseases that may lead to the development of diabetes. As the matter of fact, it is mainly type one diabetes that may derive from complications of other diseases. For instance, Coxsackie B4 virus can provoke the development of diabetes. At this point, it is worth mentioning the fact that the understand of causes of diabetes can help to develop the effective treatment of the disease.
Today, it is extremely important to identify diabetes at the early stage of the development of the disease because the earlier the disease is identified the more effective the treatment of the disease will be. At this point, it should be said that the main way to diagnose diabetes is the glucose tolerance test. Basically, people suffering from diabetes have recurrent or persistent hyperglycernia. The disease is diagnosed when the patient demonstrates the poor glucose tolerance and cannot regulate the level of sugar in blood. The analysis of the blood of patients and the regular observation of patients by health care professionals help to identify the disease and diagnose which type of the disease patients suffer from.
The treatment of insulin can help patients to maintain their health in a relatively stable state. At the same time, it is important to place emphasis on the fact that there is still no common cure to the disease and diabetes lasts for the lifetime of patients. As a rule, the treatment of diabetes implies that patients receive regular insulin injections. In addition, patients should do certain physical exercises and follow the special diet developed by specialists. As for type two diabetes, this type of diabetes may be treated with the help of medicaments, special diet and exercises. In addition, insulin injections can be used.
Anyway, the treatment of diabetes is essential because the ignorance of the development of diabetes may lead to the development of complications, which may threaten to the life of patients to the extent that in the most severe cases patients can die. Therefore, the treatment of diabetes should start at the possibly earlier stage of the development of the disease to prevent the consistent and irrevocable changes in human body.
Current status and emerging issues
In actuality, diabetes is a serious challenge to the public health, especially taking into consideration the development of the disease and the current lifestyle of people. At this point, it is possible to refer to the statistics concerning diabetes in the US presented in Table 1 below:
Table 1. Diabetes Statistics
17.9m people are diagnosed with diabetes
5.7m people are undiagnosed with diabetes
57m people have pre-diabetes
186,300 (0.22%) people under 20 have diabetes
1 in every 400 to 600 under 20-year olds have Type 1 diabetes
2m adolescents have pre-diabetes
23.5m (10.7%) of those over 20 have diabetes
12.2m of those over 60 have diabetes
12m men (11.2%) have diabetes
11.5m women (10.2%) have diabetes
Source: Lawrence JM, Contreras R, Chen W, Sacks DA (May 2008). “Trends in the prevalence of preexisting diabetes and gestational diabetes mellitus among a racially/ethnically diverse population of pregnant women, 1999–2005”. Diabetes Care 31 (5): 899–904.
Today, the risk of the development of diabetes increases because of the sedative lifestyle of people, the high level of smokers in the society, the risk of the negative impact of alcohol consumption and drug addiction, and other risk factors that can contribute to the development of diabetes in patients. At the same time, in spite of the progress of the modern science and pharmaceutical industry, there is still no common cure for diabetes.
Long-term care of patients with diabetes
In such a context, it is obvious that patients with diabetes need a long term care being provided for them. Basically, long term care plays a very important role in the provision of patients with health care services in a long term perspective. At the same time, it is important to underline that long term care produce a profound impact on the quality and effectiveness of health care services since it contributes to the development of the strategic approach to the treatment of patients and health care services provided to patients. Unlike short term care, long term care can potentially provide patients with larger opportunities to receive effective health care services during their lifetime. In such a way, it is possible to speak about the strategic importance of long term care.
It is important to underline that long term health care targets at the development of a set of health care services which could be provided to patients for a long period of time. As a rule, long term health care services include services that primarily assess the general state of patients and their development. Ideally, the development of an individual should be carefully examined and recorded in terms of long term health care services in order to get all the information about the health of a patient, his/her current condition, possible risks and threats to his/her health, etc. At the same time, it is also possible to apply long term health care services to patients who have some serious diseases because these patients need a particular attention from the part of health care specialists. The state of their health should be constantly examined and evaluated in order to minimize possible risks of complication of their diseases.
At the same time, some patients need a long term treatment and, in such a situation, long term care is simply vitally important for such patients. In this respect, it is extremely important to provide patients with long term care regardless his/her actual location. What is meant here is the fact that patients can move from one place to another, changing their environment and, therefore, health care services where they receive their treatment. Naturally, in such a situation, it is important to provide health care specialists with all the information about the treatment of such patients and their health at large. In actuality, this means that this information should be transferred from one health care organization to another in order to guarantee the proper and effective treatment of patients, because the more information about health problems of patients health care specialists have the more effective the treatment will be.
In such a context, it proves beyond a doubt that long term care is crucial because it assists consistently to the improvement of the management of health care services and it helps substantially to close the information gaps, especially in cases when patients change their location or when they are treated by new health care specialists. In fact, long term care provides patients with ample opportunities to receive health care services of the high quality in a long run because they are treated in accordance with the long term program and their physical as well as psychological state is constantly under the control of health care professionals (Spiegel et. al., 2003). Obviously, long term care also facilitates the work of health care professionals too because it is easier to manage health care services, resources, and organize the treatment of patients when they have all the information about the past treatment of patients, the state of their health and its changes, and they can work out the major strategies of the treatment of patients.
Potentially, long term care has great perspective because potentially it can become the basis of the modern health care system. Taking into consideration its effectiveness and larger opportunities for more careful control over the health of patients, it is possible to presuppose that in the future long term care will grow even more widely spread and more important. On the other hand, it is necessary to point out that specialists (Davis, 2006) indicate to the perspective of the integration of health care services and community services. To put it more precisely, health care professionals cannot always help their patients simply because they cannot permanently stay with their patients and because patients cannot adequately assess the state of their own health and, therefore, they delay their visit to a physician. In such a context, the role of community may be crucial since, potentially, in terms of long term care it is possible to integrate the work of health care services and social services and integrate community into health care services in such a way that community could more confident about possible risks to their health and what is more could help patients who need urgent medical aid. At the same time, community can simply assist health care professionals to supervise those patients who need it due long term care.
At the same time, it is worth mentioning the fact that the long term care raises a number of challenges in face of nurses and health care professionals. Nurses and other health care professionals should come prepared to provide patients with diabetes not only with nursing services but also with counseling services as well. In this regard, they should be able to provide patients with psychological help. What is meant here is the fact that nurses should have detailed information on their patients to be able to find an effective approach to patients to provide them health care services and just help them to cope with their health problems. In fact, nurses as well as other health care professionals should develop positive relationships with their patients to make them confident in their nurses and physicians. In such a way, patients confident in their nurses and other health care professionals will recover faster and cope with their health problems easier than patients that are uncertain in the qualification of nurses and their desire to help patients.
Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is important to place emphasis on the fact that the development of diabetes represents a serious threat to the life and health of patients because diabetes can provoke complications that may lead to the death of patients. Therefore, the diagnosing and treatment of diabetes is essential. In this respect, nurses and other health care professionals, as well as family members of patients with diabetes should come prepared to provide them with long term care. Patients with diabetes have special needs and they are limited in their physical activity. At the same time, patients with diabetes need psychological help from the part of their family members, nurses, and other care-givers. In such a way, nurses should be able to provide patients with diabetes with counseling services. For this purpose, nurses should know the patient’s history and personality. Hence, nurses will be able to find the individual approach to each patient and to make each patient confident in nurses’ professionalism and ability to help.
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