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The health condition which I chose to focus my paper on is Diabetes. The reason I chose this health condition is because it’s one of the health conditions that has been running in my family on both my maternal and paternal side. Growing up I’ve witnessed my older cousin and father battle with diabetes their whole life. During my childhood, I would notice how diabetes really takes a toll on both their bodies and their minds. The affect this health condition had on both their mind and body would prevent them from living their normal lives such as functionally normally and being there for their children.
Diabetes is a disease that takes an effect on your body when your body is unable to produce or use the hormone insulin properly. Diabetes causes too much sugar to build up in the blood. When dealing with diabetes, there are two main types of diabetes which are Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 diabetes usually occurs when your body is unable to produce any insulin. Type 1 diabetes is sometime referred as the juvenile diabetes due to usually only being discovered in children and teenagers.
Juvenile diabetes can sometimes be found in adults too, but the chances are very rare. Type 2 occurs when your body is unable to produce enough peptide hormone or not able to use the insulin as much as it should. When diabetes was first discovered doctors thought Type 2 could only be found in adults. However, over the years Type 2 diabetes has been recently found in children as well. According to doctors, Type 2 has been discovered in children recently due to many children being overweight and less likely to be physically active at a young age.
In Type 1 diabetes, your body tends to lack in producing peptide hormone due to the immune system attacking and destroying the cells that are located in the pancreas that creates insulin. In Type 2 diabetes, your body tends to change most of the food a person eats into sugar. This causes the insulin to allow the sugar to enter in all of the cells in your body. Type 2 also causes the body to use the insulin improperly causing the sugar to build up in the blood instead of moving into the cells. When your body produces too much sugar, this can cause major damage to the blood vessels, nerves, eyes, heart and kidneys.
When conducting my research on diabetes and how much of an impact it can have on one’s body, I found that this disease can be a chronic disease. I found that diabetes is a chronic disease because over time diabetes eventually leads to other complications such as cardiovascular disease, nerve damages, kidney damages, eye damages, foot damage, skin conditions, hearing impairment, Alzheimer’s disease and depression. Long term health complications of diabetes tend to develop gradually over time. Doctors found out over time that the longer a person have diabetes and the less of control you have on your blood sugar can result to higher risks of health complications. Once the risks of complications comes about this may cause a person to become disabled or have life threatening problems.
This disease can be progressive and fatal; it all depends on how soon a person receives treatment and how well they manage their condition. Sometimes, it also depends on how the body responds toward treatment. Diabetes affects each individual differently in most cases; it’s hard to know how the disease will affect the person’s body and life expectancy. For an example; a person who does not manage their sugar levels or exercise likely has a short life expectancy than a person who is monitoring their glucose level or active on a daily basis. If the disease is caught at an early stage and receives treatment right away, many people can live a normal life and as long as those without diabetes.
Chronic conditions such as nerve damage or gastroparesis can progress if diabetes is left undiagnosed or untreated. Type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease that could lead to being fatal. This could cause diabetes to become fatal due to not being diagnosed or managed properly. This disease could also lead to complications mentioned earlier such as dialysis, eye damage which can increase a risk for heart disease or a stroke. According to doctors, there are no cures for diabetes, but it can be controlled or managed.
Diabetes affects each person’s differently which means the symptoms varies from person to person. In the early stage of diabetes some people may have very few symptoms and may not even be aware that they may have the disease. Symptoms of diabetes usually result in a change in your appetite, weight, vision, and skin. Most common symptoms usually are extreme thirst/hunger, frequent urination, drowsiness, or bruises/sores on your body. Some may also experience frequent skin, gum, bladder, or vaginal yeast infections.
Some people may even experience dry/itchy skin, and tingling/numbness in the hands or feet. Those who are diagnosed with Type 2 may also experience signs of insulin resistance. Insulin resistance includes darkening skin around the neck or armpits, high blood pressure, and cholesterol problems. Some women may experience frequent yeast infections and skipped/absent periods. Uncontrolled Type 2 diabetes can also include symptoms of nausea, faster breathing and uncoordinated muscle movement.
As I stated before, diabetes cannot be cured, but it can be manageable and controlled depending on how the body reacts to treatment. The primarily focus when it comes to treating or controlling diabetes is controlling your blood sugar level. A person can control their blood sugar level by exercising, maintaining a healthy weight and taking oral medicines or insulin. When it comes to monitoring your weight, a person’s diet should include a lot of whole grains, fruits and vegetables. During the diet stage, one should make sure they eat about three meals a day about the same time every day to help keep the insulin and sugar levels steady.
Treating diabetes also involves exercising to help the body use insulin and lower the blood sugar levels. Exercising helps diabetic people control their weight, produces more energy, and help the person remains mentally strong. Exercising helps the heart remains healthy, keep a steady cholesterol level and a manageable weight. These factors can also affect your risk of a heart attack and stroke. Maintaining a healthy weight can help insulin work better and lower your blood pressure.
Taking medication is the last result if your diabetes can’t be controlled by dieting, exercising and weight control. Oral medicine can make your body produce more peptide hormone. Medicine also helps the body use the insulin to become more efficiently. Some people medicine treatment also involves adding insulin to the body with insulin substances such as insulin pumps, insulin injections, or insulin pens. However, oral medicine does not work for everyone; it is not effective in treatment of Type 1 diabetes.
Treatment also includes a doctor checking your blood sugar level every three months with an A1C test. An A1C test involves pricking the tip of your finger for blood and putting a test strip in the blood to get the results. People who are diabetic may often feel tired, like they’re going to faint or lose consciousness which often means the blood sugar is low. During the early stage, these symptoms can be treated by having candy, juice, milk or raisins to help increase your blood sugar level faster. A diabetic person should always keep these types of items or supplies on hand in case of emergencies.
When working with patients with diabetes and their families, a health care social worker should be aware of the patients’ personal and emotional side in order to work effectively with this population. Health care social workers may be able to help find appropriate resources to help the patient with their medical or financial needs. Social workers must be aware of the patient needing help with coping with many concerns related to diabetes or problems within the families and help with coping in workplace situations. A social worker also must be aware of the symptoms diabetes can display in patients and the amount of damage diabetes can caused on a person’s body. Also having a little insight of ways to help manage the person diabetes could be helpful as well.
A health care social worker must also be aware and prepared to function in diverse roles such as educators, resource brokers and counselors to help address essential influences of diabetes control. Diabetic patients are in need of connecting to medication or insurance to help manage their diabetes. Social workers should be aware that these patients are also in need of connecting to home health care services as well. It is best that social workers are educated on diabetes and the life expectancy of patients. When dealing with this population, it’s important to know the background so the social worker can kind of relate or at least have some knowledge on what the patient may be going through when battling diabetes.
It is also important that social workers address or counsel patients regarding their daily stress, work related stress factors or even addictions. Social workers should be aware of the links that could be connected to patients with diabetes such as depression or substance abuse. A social worker must be able to pay attention to the connection between depression and diabetes because in most cases a diabetic person’s depression goes unnoticed due to trying to find resources to manage the health conditions that diabetes may bring about. When dealing with a diabetic patient, it can often be time consuming trying to connect the patient to available community resources. A social worker should be mindful of the time required to help patients with diabetes.
At a micro-practice level a social worker can work effectively with patients with diabetes and their families by working as an educator. It is important to educate a person who has been just diagnosed with diabetes and their families as well because most people are unaware how important is to keep watch and manage their blood sugar levels. Educating both the patient and their families on the other complications and symptoms of diabetes can be very important. Education the family could help the family become more aware of the client diet and exercise routine. Most people tend to take their diet and health seriously when they have a people a part of their support system to help them watch what they eat and their blood sugar level.
A social worker could also connect the patient to a support group located in their communities. Connecting a client to a local support group can also be helpful to the patient by lowering their chances of depression. Sometimes it’s nice to be surrounded by people who are going through the same life situations because you are able to connect and relate to those experiencing the same health condition. Also connecting the family to local support group can be helpful as well because it gives the family a little insight on what the diabetic person may be dealing with at first hand. This help the family become a little bit more open and understanding to actually being there for the person dealing with diabetes.
In the micro-practice level the social worker could also run assessments on the patient with diabetes. Assessing the individual with diabetes can be helpful for connecting the client to helpful resources within the community. These assessments allow the social worker to be able to pin point the client strengths and weaknesses. It allows the social worker to be able to identify what services may be helpful for the patient such as being able to screen if the patient is dealing with depression or a eating disorder. It is important that social workers complete assessments on their patients to help better serve them.
On a mezzo-practice level, a social worker must be aware of working with a variety of clients from a small to medium size groups located in businesses, local organizations, schools, and neighborhoods. For an example; being a advocate for patients battling diabetes in a hospital setting. A social worker could be helpful by having educating forums at hospitals for diabetic patients. Even within the local community, being able to advocate for diabetic patients in the community and connecting them to available resources. A social worker on a mezzo level must be able to work with groups to focus on promoting ways to manage diabetes for institutional or cultural change.
Working within the mezzo-practice level of social work, a social worker must be experienced in working in both interpersonal relations and community involvement in order to work effectively with diabetic patients. Working as a support group counselor with schools, hospitals or local neighborhoods allows people who are struggling with diabetes with the same health concerning problems to come together and talk about similar situations. A diabetic support group might feature people who have learned how to manage their diet or exercise routines. The support group allows the members to talk and share their emotions or experiences more than 10 people hopeful to converse through their issues. They often need a counselor to open up a support group or meeting to help them remain on track.
A social worker could also become a community group leader with the mezzo-practice level. Community group leaders help a small group of people come to terms with having diabetes. Community group leaders can run special programs to bring awareness of diabetes within the community and how to prevent Type 1 or Type 2 by catching the early signs head on. We could educate people in the communities to pay attention to their health or diet before it turns into Type 1 or 2. This also brings about awareness for those battling diabetes on how to handle certain emergencies when their blood sugar levels are low.
Macro social work level includes roles such as policy advocates, analysts, human services specialists and research analysts. A social worker must be aware of the target outcomes of advocacy and the ability to increase awareness and education about all types of diabetes. Managing diabetes can become very expensive which can sometimes cause people to fall behind on their bills and other living expenses. On a macro level a social worker must be able to find funding and advocate for the patient to help cover all of their medical expenses. Also the ability to keep up with the policy changes benefitting diabetics is highly important as well.
Over time policies can change at any time, so it’s very important to continue to stay in the loop of advocating for diabetic who are in need of funding. Social workers could host national activities to increase awareness, influence federal policies and raise funds to help those battling with diabetes. A social worker within the macro level could also put in international measures to attain goals on a worldwide scale and provide support to source poor nations. Also providing advocacy skill level training to the communities could help individuals become more involved in advocating for those suffering from diabetes. Advocating on a national level helps provides funding and educating government officials to influence national policies that impact people living with diabetes.
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