More than ten percent of people over the age of 20 have type 2 diabetes. But for every four that are diagnosed, there is one that is undiagnosed.
Because of their accessibility to the public, pharmacists are in a good position to help play an essential role in the management of the disease. With a timely diagnosis, the right lifestyle changes, and medication, diabetic patients can live a relatively normal life. Pharmacists can make a big difference if they routinely follow up with diabetic patients to monitor their treatment. Here are ways pharmacists can help.
1. Counseling patients about glucose levels
Pharmacists can provide counseling to those who have diabetes about monitoring their glucose levels, what to do when their glucose levels stray from the safe range, and what to do when their sugar levels drop too far. Pharmacists can help individual patients develop the most appropriate plans for handling their hypoglycemia.
2. Counseling about diet and exercise
Pharmacists can also advise patients on the best diet and exercise regimens that fit with the type of diabetes medication they are taking. This is especially important in areas where patients lack access to medical care and cannot talk to dieticians or nutritionists for help with this aspect of care.
3. Counseling about medication
The number of different medications now available for treating diabetes is much greater than in the past. Because of their expertise, pharmacists can play an essential role in explaining the different types of medications to patients, how the medications work, how they should be taken, and which would be best to take.
Pharmacists can also explain adverse effects that the medications may have and how patients can treat the effects if they do arise or if a patient would be better off switching to another type of medication.
If a patient is taking insulin, the pharmacist can explain to the patient how to administer the drug and answer any other questions the patient may have about using insulin to treat the disease.
4. Identifying people who may have diabetes
Because they deal with many patients each day, and have a good idea of their medical history, pharmacists are in a prime position to help identify people who may have diabetes by looking at the number of risk factors these individuals have. These factors include obesity, family history of diabetes, a sedentary lifestyle, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
Many pharmacies also offer blood glucose testing, which is a quick and straightforward way to identify people with the disease.
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