Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar is too high. Blood glucose is your main source of energy and comes from the food you eat. Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps glucose from food get into your cells to be used for energy. Sometimes your body does not make enough or any insulin or does not use insulin well. Glucose then stays in your blood and does not reach your cells. Over time, having too much glucose in your blood can cause health problems. These can include kidney disease, vision loss, heart disease, stroke, and neuropathy. Many of these long-term complications can be barriers to performance of activities necessary to successfully self-manage diabetes. Although diabetes has no cure, you can take steps to manage your diabetes and stay healthy.
Occupational and physical therapists can play a strong role in diabetes education and self-management for individuals who are likely to develop the disease as well as those who are already diagnosed. Therapists are experts at analyzing the performance skills and patterns necessary for people to engage in their everyday activities. Therapists can:
- Effectively educate and train persons at risk for or who currently have diabetes to modify current habits and routines and develop new ones to promote a healthier lifestyle and minimize disease progression.
- Promote healthy food choices and safe cooking methods.
- Instruct in safe and appropriate ways to incorporate exercise and physical activity into daily routines and providing treatment for complications.
- Provide techniques to organize and track medications.
- Instruct in the use of low-vision and nonvisual devices to draw up and measure insulin.
- Instruct and provide strategies to successfully use a talking blood glucose monitor or use any blood glucose monitor one-handed.
- Incorporate protective techniques and compensation for peripheral sensory loss in activities that involve exposure to heat, cold, and sharp objects.
- Educate in techniques to structure time and simplify activities to cope with depression.
If you would like to learn more about how an Occupational or Physical Therapist can assist you in the management of diabetes please feel free to contact us at Greenfield Rehabilitation 262-473-2140 Fairhaven Senior Services, 435 Starin Road, Whitewater, WI 53190 for more information.