Making sense of diabetes

September 21, 2020

Throughout her 38-year nursing career, Laurel Despins has progressed from a bedside nurse to a clinical nurse specialist and has worked in medical, surgical and cardiac intensive care units. She noticed diabetes is rarely referred to as a primary cause of death in itself, yet the disease is a leading contributor to deaths involving heart disease, stroke and cancer.

"In addition to being a contributor to cardiovascular-related deaths, diabetes can lead to a variety of negative health outcomes, such as kidney failure, arthritis, nerve issues, eye problems and leg ulcers that can become infected," said Despins, now an assistant professor and researcher in the MU Sinclair School of Nursing. "Therefore, creating a plan to keep blood glucose levels from getting too high or too low will help those with diabetes better manage the disease and avoid those negative health complications down the road."

To help adults with diabetes better manage their blood sugar levels, Despins interviewed individuals diagnosed with type 2 diabetes about their understanding of the disease and their approach toward self-management. She found those who had previous life experiences watching a relative or neighbor manage diabetes influenced how they viewed diabetes management themselves.

"For example, one subject grew up watching his grandma inject insulin needles into her thigh all the time like it was no big deal, so naturally that person did not look at diabetes as something to be overly concerned about," Despins said. "On the other hand, another subject saw his neighbor with diabetic leg ulcers and swore that he never wanted that to happen to him, so he was very attentive to monitoring his blood sugar levels."

Because there is no one-size-fits-all approach to diabetes management, Despins says healthcare providers need to better understand the life circumstances of their diabetic patients, including their financial resources.

"People on a fixed income might not be able to routinely buy fresh produce instead of pasta, which can impact their blood glucose levels," Despins said. "Given the tough circumstances some people with diabetes live in, health care providers need to do an assessment of what resources patients with diabetes have available so they optimize what they can do."

To better serve patients with diabetes, Despins recommends that when health care providers collect initial quantitative data from patients such as weight, height and age, they should also ask additional qualitative questions to get a better understanding of the patients' knowledge of the disease.

"Asking questions like 'What do you currently know about diabetes?', 'Do you know someone with diabetes?' and 'How do you think they did at self-managing it, and does this influence the way you view your self-management plan?' will help the health care provider better understand the patient's life experiences," Despins said. "My overall goal is to help people with diabetes better optimize their self-management, which will improve their health outcomes by avoiding negative complications in the long run."
-end-


University of Missouri-Columbia

Related Diabetes Articles from Brightsurf:

New diabetes medication reduced heart event risk in those with diabetes and kidney disease
Sotagliflozin - a type of medication known as an SGLT2 inhibitor primarily prescribed for Type 2 diabetes - reduces the risk of adverse cardiovascular events for patients with diabetes and kidney disease.

Diabetes drug boosts survival in patients with type 2 diabetes and COVID-19 pneumonia
Sitagliptin, a drug to lower blood sugar in type 2 diabetes, also improves survival in diabetic patients hospitalized with COVID-19, suggests a multicenter observational study in Italy.

Making sense of diabetes
Throughout her 38-year nursing career, Laurel Despins has progressed from a bedside nurse to a clinical nurse specialist and has worked in medical, surgical and cardiac intensive care units.

Helping teens with type 1 diabetes improve diabetes control with MyDiaText
Adolescence is a difficult period of development, made more complex for those with Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM).

Diabetes-in-a-dish model uncovers new insights into the cause of type 2 diabetes
Researchers have developed a novel 'disease-in-a-dish' model to study the basic molecular factors that lead to the development of type 2 diabetes, uncovering the potential existence of major signaling defects both inside and outside of the classical insulin signaling cascade, and providing new perspectives on the mechanisms behind insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes and possibly opportunities for the development of novel therapeutics for the disease.

Tele-diabetes to manage new-onset diabetes during COVID-19 pandemic
Two new case studies highlight the use of tele-diabetes to manage new-onset type 1 diabetes in an adult and an infant during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Genetic profile may predict type 2 diabetes risk among women with gestational diabetes
Women who go on to develop type 2 diabetes after having gestational, or pregnancy-related, diabetes are more likely to have particular genetic profiles, suggests an analysis by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and other institutions.

Maternal gestational diabetes linked to diabetes in children
Children and youth of mothers who had gestational diabetes during pregnancy are at increased risk of diabetes themselves, according to new research published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Two diabetes medications don't slow progression of type 2 diabetes in youth
In youth with impaired glucose tolerance or recent-onset type 2 diabetes, neither initial treatment with long-acting insulin followed by the drug metformin, nor metformin alone preserved the body's ability to make insulin, according to results published online June 25 in Diabetes Care.

People with diabetes visit the dentist less frequently despite link between diabetes, oral health
Adults with diabetes are less likely to visit the dentist than people with prediabetes or without diabetes, finds a new study led by researchers at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing and East Carolina University's Brody School of Medicine.

Read More: Diabetes News and Diabetes Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.