Chronic patients with type 2 diabetes must have an active role in their own treatment. It is essential they be able to practice self-care and treatment in accordance with life’s changes. This means that doctors must make sure patients are capable of self-care by providing the knowledge and skills needed for effective treatment and offering adequate emotional support. This approach is called “therapeutic education” and is highly indicated for anyone with diabetes.
Complications of the disease
Diabetes is a chronic disease that, if not treated early and aggressively, produces disabling micro and macrovascular complications and reduces a patient’s life expectancy and quality of life. The number of people with diabetes, especially type 2 diabetes, is constantly increasing and becoming a pressing issue for the entire National Health System. Expenditure for diabetes is already quite significant and, given the increase in the average age of the population, is destined to rise.
Treating diabetes requires a specific approach based on the stage of the disease and the needs of the patient. For example, insulin is an essential drug in treating hyperglycemia and must be used, at times intermittently, in type 2 diabetes patients to resolve complex situations. The use of insulin can, thus, be complicated and requires a great deal of time and attention on behalf of the patient. Given there is still no definite treatment for insulin deficiency, practical management skills can facilitate its use.
The integrated care and management model that defines the skills and use of tools needed to assess safety and effectiveness has made it now possible to perform treatments in a patient’s home, creating a personalized therapeutic project where information is communicated and objectives are shared. For this reason, therapeutic patients’ education with diabetes is fundamental.
How therapeutic education for diabetics works
When insulin treatment begins, patients with type 2 diabetes must have the necessary tools to get through eventual emergencies, especially hypoglycemia. All patients undergoing insulin treatment must be able to practice self-care and glycemic control at least three times a day. Patients must be aware that there is a greater risk of hypoglycemia with intense physical activity and glucose levels must be taken before and after physical exertion. Furthermore, patients with kidney failure and liver disease are at a greater risk for hypoglycemia and must begin with smaller doses of insulin. Thus, patients must be taught to recognize and treat hypoglycemia. Therapeutic education for diabetes patients can solve the main problems linked to organizational aspects when patients begin insulin treatments.
As mentioned, insulin therapy requires commitment on behalf of both the patient and doctor. Unlike other medications, insulin therapy requires daily management for reasons of safety, effectiveness and prevention. Patients must learn how to manage the therapy on their own, check their own glucose levels and administer insulin to themselves. Continuous support, an issue that will soon be resolved, is necessary and can even be achieved through a phone call.
A cultural change is necessary on behalf of doctors, patients, and the National Health System in order to make therapeutic education more pivotal in each course of treatment for type 2 diabetes.
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