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Friday, 18 March 2011

Diabetes and Psychology

Diabetes and psychology are not often thought of as being complimentary but with the use of psychology the life of a diabetic can be drastically improved. To understand the role that psychology has to play it is first important to understand exactly what diabetes is and how it can affect the life of a diabetic.

85% of diabetics have type 2 diabetes which is the body's resistance to insulin. Insulin is naturally produced in the body and helps to breakdown the glucose in the blood. The causes of type 2 diabetes are linked to obesity, inactivity and an unhealthy diet. In order to cope with diabetes the diabetic needs to avoid long periods of high blood glucose levels called hyperglycemia and also periods of hypoglycemia which is low blood glucose levels. To balance these 2 extremes a diabetic needs to monitor and regulate their blood sugar levels on a regular basis. If the diabetic doesn't keep their glucose levels under controls they may encounter a whole host of unpleasant diseases and side effects.

The use of psychology comes in when it is necessary for a diabetic to make rapid and extreme changes to their lifestyle. Once diagnosed a diabetic must make these changes almost overnight so someone may go from a sedentary lifestyle of eating junk food and watching TV to having to eat regular healthy food and take regular exercise and well as monitor their blood sugar level. This rapid change can cause lots of problems for newly diagnosed diabetics.

The routines needed to monitor blood sugar levels and control the diabetes can be very complicated. As the majority of diabetes treatment is self care there can be serious problems if the person lacks motivation. Their condition can deteriorate and result in amputation of limbs or blindness. It is therefore imperative that the doctors use psychology to make the patient understand the importance of the illness.

Tests conducted in Canada and Germany into diabetes and psychology in recent years using fully qualified psychologists have resulted in increased levels of successful diabetes control. Whilst still relatively new the use of psychology has undoubted positive effects. With the current level of 125 million diabetes sufferers estimate to double to 300 million in the next 20 years it is important that doctors start to realise the obvious befits of psychology and incorporate psychology as part of the treatment plan for any diabetic.

An very interesting article. Psychology and a number of physical illnesses are becoming more and more interlinked, with illnesses such as Cancer and Stroke also warranting more and more psychological intervention throughout the illness and after.

The Skills Development Service are currently rolling out a number of training days for those working with Stroke Patients and Psycho-oncology, we are soon hoping to have a training course ready for Diabetes also.

If you have any interest in any of these courses please feel free to contact SDS on 01183 360169.

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