A common task for nursing home staff is managing their patients’ diabetes. As of 2014, 21 million people were diagnosed with diabetes in the U.S. Many of these individuals are elderly individuals in nursing homes or assisted living facilities.
It is vital that an elderly person’s diabetes is carefully managed. Too little sugar in the blood or too much can lead to devastating consequences. Additionally, poorly managed blood sugar that consistently goes through highs and lows can lead to other traumatic effects.
Hypoglycemia is the condition of having too low blood sugar, which is generally less than 70 mg/dl. However, the patient’s target will depend on their own doctor’s recommendation.
In diabetic patients, this condition is often caused by being given too much insulin. Diabetic patients do not produce any or enough insulin themselves or their cells have become unresponsive to the insulin they produce. Insulin is necessary to draw sugar out of the blood to be used as energy for the body. However, when an elderly individual is given too high of a dosage of insulin or given the medication too often, the insulin takes too much sugar from the bloodstream.
When an elderly patient is suffering from low blood sugar, they may feel anxious, shaky, sweaty, fatigued, and irritable. More serious side effects are heart palpitations, confusion, seizures, and loss of consciousness.
Hyperglycemia is when a diabetic patient has too high of blood sugar, which generally means they are not given enough insulin. Either the dose administered is too low or they are not receiving enough oral or injections of insulin throughout the day. Other medications and stress can also affect the patient’s blood sugar.
If the patient’s blood is tested regularly, hyperglycemia can go on unnoticed for a significant period of time. And the longer the patient suffers from high blood sugar, the greater likelihood of severe side effects.
The beginning signs of hyperglycemia are extreme thirst, frequent urination, headaches, and fatigue.
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If either of this conditions are left untreated for a significant period of time, patients can suffer from kidney damage, nerve damage usually in their feet, vision problems or blindness, cardiovascular disease, and other serious issues.
If you or a loved one does not have the proper care in managing diabetes and it led to an injury, call the Florida medical malpractice attorneys ofOldham & Smith at (352) 292-1620. We will help you file a claim to recover due compensation for any injuries you have suffered.