For our bodies to work properly we need to maintain healthy levels of glucose in the blood. Glucose is the main source of energy for our bodies and is carried around the body in the blood stream. Insulin is a hormone that is produced in the pancreas, and is needed for glucose to enter the cells and be converted to energy.
In people with diabetes, the pancreas doesn’t make any insulin, or enough insulin to work effectively.
Glucose comes from the carbohydrate foods we eat. Carbohydrate foods include bread, pasta, rice, cereals, fruits, starchy vegetables, milk and yoghurt. The body breaks carbohydrates down into glucose which then enters the blood stream. For glucose to enter all the cells in the body and be used for energy, insulin must be available.
For people with diabetes, the glucose stays in the blood instead of being turned into energy. This is why blood glucose levels are higher in people with diabetes. High blood glucose can cause short and long term damage to the body. Complications can impact many areas of the body including heart, brain, kidneys, eyes and feet.
The role of a carer
Caring for those with a disability, diabetes and the elderly poses distinct but at times similar challenges.
The carer’s role within the health care team is a valuable one. Keeping medical appointments, assisting with medication delivery and day-to-day support of nutrition and activity needs for an individual is vital to their health and survival.
When caring for someone with diabetes, establishing a patient management care plan with the GP can be a great help.
This plan can give a carer guidance and structure to the support of the person in their care.
Family and carers can also explore the local community for support programs. Discussing care arrangements with a diabetes team, GP and/or practice nurse will help you access services like homecare nursing to reduce the burden on you and boost quality of care for the individual.