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Assessment and Management of Pt w/ Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes Mellitus
A group of metabolic disease characterized by increased levels of glucose in
the blood resulting from defects in insulin secretion, insulin action or both

Type 1 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes
Gestational diabetes
Diabetes mellitus associated w/ other conditions or syndromes
Different types of DM may vary in :

Clinical course


Secreted by beta cells in the islets of langerhans in the pancreas

Is anabolic /storage hormone
When a person eats a meal, insulin secretion increases and moves
glucose from blood into muscle , liver and fat cells
Functions of insulin in the cells :
Transport and metabolizes glucose for energy
Stimulates storage of glucose in the liver and muscle in the

form of glycogen
Signals the liver to stop the release of glucose
Enhances storage of dietary fat in adipose tissue
Accelerates transport of amino acids w/c derived from
dietary protein into cells

Inhibits the breakdown of stored glucose , protein and fat

During fasting periods, pancreas continuously releases a small
amount of insulin (basal insulin)


Another pancreatic hormone, glucagon (secreted by alpha cells) is

released when blood glucose level decrease

Stimulates the liver to release stored glucose


Liver produces glucose through breakdown of glycogen


After 8 to 12 hours w/o food, liver forms glucose from the

breakdown of noncarbohydrate substances , including amino acids

Type 1 diabetes
5 % to 10 % of all diabetes
Previously classified as :
Juvenile diabetes
Juvenile-onset diabetes
Ketosis-prone diabetes
Brittle diabetes
Insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM)
Onset any age, but usually young (<30 y)
Characterized by destruction of pancreatic beta cells
Possible contributors to beta cell destruction :
Environmental (eg. viral)
Genetic susceptibility is a common underlying factor
People do not inherit type 1 itself but rather a genetic predisposition toward
development of type 1
The genetic tendency has been found in people w/ certain human leukocyte
antigen (HLA) types
There is also evidence of autoimmune response in w/c antibodies are
directed against normal tissues of the body
Destruction of beta cells results in :
Decreased insulin production
Unchecked glucose production by the liver
Fasting hyperglycemia
Glucose derived from food cannot be stored in the liver but instead remains
in the bloodstream and contributes to postprandial (after meals)

If concentration of glucose in blood exceeds the renal threshold for glucose

usually 180 to 200 mg/dL , kidneys may not reabsorb all the filtered
glucose , glucose then appears in urine (glycosuria)
When excess glucose is excreted in urine , it is accompanied by excessive
fluid and electrolyte loss (Osmotic diuresis)
Fat breakdown occurs resulting in increased production of ketone bodies

If the high risk women do not have GDM at initial screening , they should
retested bet. 24 and 28 weeks of gestation
All women of average risk should be tested at 24 to 28 weeks of gestation
Women considered to be at high or average risk should have either an oral
glucose tolerance test (OGTT) or a glucose challenge test (GCT)
Initial management include dietary modification and blood glucose monitoring
Goals for blood glucose levels during pregnancy :
105 mg/dL or less before meals
130 mg/dL or less 2 hr after meals
After delivery , blood glucose usually return to normal , however many
develop type 2 later in life


Type 2 diabetes
90 % to 95 % of all diabetes
Previously classified as :
Adult-onset diabetes
Maturity-onset diabetes
Ketosis-resistant diabetes
Stable diabetes
Non-insulin dependent diabetes (NIDDM)
Onset any age, usually over 30 y & obese
2 main problems are insulin resistance (decreased tissue sensitivity) and
impaired insulin secretion
Increased amount of insulin must be secreted to maintain normal glucose
DKA does not typically occur
Gestational diabetes
Any degree of glucose intolerance
Secretion of placental hormones causes insulin resistance
High risk :
Personal history of GDM
Strong family history of diabetes
High risk ethnic groups :
Hispanic Americans
Native Americans
Asian Americans
African Americans
Pacific Islanders

Type II DM can be prevented c appropriate changes in lifestyle

Persons at high risk for type II DM received either :
Standard lifestyle recommendations plus metformin
Standard lifestyle recommendations plus placebo
An intensive program of lifestyle modifications
The 16-lesson curriculum of the intensive program of lifestyle modifications
focused on :
Weight reduction of greater than 7 % of initial body weight
Physical activity of moderate intensity
Behavior modification strategies

Clinical Manifestations
Depend on the pts level of hyperglycemia
Classic clinical manifestations of all types of DM include 3 Ps :
Polyuria (increased urination)
Polydipsia (increased thirst) as a result of excess loss of fluid

associated c osmotic dieresis

Polyphagia (increased appetite) results from the catabolic state

induced by insulin deficiency & breakdown of protein and fats

Other symptoms :
Skin lesions or wounds that are slow to heal
Recurrent infections
Sudden vision changes
Tingling or numbness in hands or feet
Dry skin
Onset of type I DM may also be associated c :
Sudden weight loss
Abdominal pains

Medical Management

Main goal of DM treatment is to normalize insulin activity and blood glucose

(euglycemia) levels to reduce the development of vascular and

Assessment and Diagnostic Findings

Criteria for the Diagnosis of DM

Symptoms of DM plus casual plasma glucose concentration

200 mg/dL

. Casual is defined as any time of the day without regard to time since
last meal
Fasting plasma glucose 126 mg/dL . Fasting is defined as no caloric intake
for at least 8 hours
Two-hour postload glucose

200 mg/dL (glucose level 2 hours after

receiving glucose) during an oral glucose tolerance test

Gerontologic Considerations
App. 10 % to 30 % of elderly people have age related hyperglycemia
What causes age-related changes in CHO metabolism is not known
Possibilities that causes age related hyperglycemia :
Poor diet
Physical inactivity
Decrease in the lean body mass in w/c indigested CHO may be

Altered insulin secretion
Increase in fat tissue w/c increases insulin resistance

neuropathic complications
Intensive glucose control / therapy :
3 or 4 insulin injections per day
Continuous SQ insulin infusion
Insulin pump therapy
Frequent blood glucose monitoring
Weekly contact c the diabetes educators
5 components of DM management
I. Nutritional Therapy
Foundations of DM management :
Meal planning
Weight control
Most important objective in dietary and nutritional management of DM :
Control of total caloric intake to attain or maintain a reasonable
body weight
Control of blood glucose levels
Normalization of lipids and BP to prevent heart disease
A registered dietitian has the major responsibility for designing and
teaching therapeutic plan
For obese pt c diabetes , weight loss is the key treatment
Overweight is considered to be a BMI of 25 to 29
Obesity is defined as 20 % above ideal body weight or BMI


BMI is a weight-to-height ratio calculated by dividing body weight (kg) by

the square of the height (m)
Meal planning and Related teaching

First step in preparing a meal plan is a thorough review of the pts diet

history to identify his or her eating habits and lifestyle

Have a thorough assessment of pts need for weight loss, gain or

In most instances, people c type II DM require weight reduction
Initial education addresses :
Importance of consistent eating habits
Relationship of food and insulin
Provision of an individualized meal plan

Caloric Requirements

Calorie-controlled diets are planned by first calculating a persons

energy needs and caloric requirements based on age, gender, height and

Constipation if fluid intake is inadequate
If fiber is added in the meal plan , it should be done gradually and in
consultation c dietitian

To promote a 1 to 2 pound weight loss per week, 500 to 1000 calories
are subtracted from the daily total
The calories are distributed into CHO, CHON, and fats and a meal plan


is then developed
The priority for a young pt c type I DM should be a diet c enough

Legumes, oats and some fruits

Plays more role in lowering blood glucose and lipid levels than does

insoluble fiber
Slows stomach emptying and movement of food through upper digestive

calories to maintain normal growth and development . The goal initially

may be to provide a higher-calorie diet to regain lost weight and blood


glucose control
Caloric Distribution

A meal plan for diabetes focuses on the percentage of calories that

come from CHO, CHON and fats

American Dietetic Association recommend that for all levels of caloric
intake :
50 % to 60 % of calories should be derived from CHO (whole

20 % to 30 % from fats
10 % to 20 % from CHON


Food Classification Systems

The caloric distribution currently recommended is higher in CHO than

in fat and CHON

CHO foods have the greatest effect on blood glucose levels because :
More quickly digested than other foods
Converted into glucose rapidly
Consist of sugars and starches
Low glycemic index diets may reduce postprandial glucose levels
All CHO should be eaten in moderation to avoid high postprandial blood

glucose levels
Foods high in CHO such as sucrose (concentrated sweets) are not

totally eliminated from diet but should be eaten in moderation (up to

10% of total calories) because they are typically high in fat and lack
vitamins , minerals and fiber

It is recommended in the diabetic diet to both reduce the total

calories and limit the amount of saturated fats to 10 % of total calories
Limit the total intake of dietary cholesterol to less than 30 mg/dL


Use of some non animal sources of protein to help reduce saturated fat

and alcohol intake

Amount of protein intake may be reduced in pt c early signs of renal


May improve blood glucose levels

May decrease the need for exogenous insulin
Lower total cholesterol and LDL levels
2 types : Soluble and Insoluble
At least 25 g should be ingested daily
One risk involved in suddenly increasing fiber intake is that it may
require adjusting the dosage of insulin or oral agents to prevent

Exchange Lists

6 main exchange lists :

Foods within one group contain equal numbers of calories and app. equal

in grams of CHON, fat and CHO

Foods on one list may be interchanged c one another

Nutrition Labels

percentage of calories from fat sources to less than 30 % of total

Several systems have been developed in w/c foods are organized into
groups c common characteristics such as :
o Number of calories
o Composition of foods (amount of CHO, CHON, fats in the food)
o Effect on blood glucose levels


Found in whole grain breads and cereals and in some vegetables

Along c soluble fiber, increases satiety which is helpful for weight loss

Other problems may include :
Abdominal fullness
Increased flatulence

Nutrition contents of foods listed on package labels

Label includes information about how many grams of CHO are in a
serving of food and can be used to determine how much medication is

needed (ex : 1 unit of insulin for 15 g of CHO)

CHO counting is a nutritional tool used for blood glucose management
because CHO are the main nutrients in food that influence blood
glucose levels

Healthy food choices

Measuring serving or choices

Used more often by people c type II DM
One CHO serving is equivalent to 15 g of CHO
Vegetables and meat are counted as 1/3 of a CHO serving

Food Guide Pyramid

Commonly used for pt c type II DM who have a difficult time following

a calorie controlled diet
Consists of the ff food groups :
Milk and other dairy products
Meats and beans
Foods that are lowest in calories and fats and highest in fiber should
make up the basis of the diet

Fats, oils, and sweets should be used sparingly to obtain weight and

blood glucose control and to reduce risk for CVD

Reliance on the Food guide pyramid may result in fluctuations in blood
glucose levels because high CHO foods may be grouped c low-CHO

Have minimal or no calories

Produce minimal or no elevation in blood glucose levels
Have been approved by FDA as safe for people c DM
Include saccharin, aspartame, acesulfame-K , and sucralose

Glycemic Index

Used to describe how much a given food increases the blood glucose

level compared c an equivalent amount of glucose

Guidelines when making dietary recommendations :
Combining starchy foods c protein-containing and fat-containing
foods tend to slow their absorption and lower the glycemic

Eating foods that are raw and whole results in a lower glycemic

response than eating a chopped , pureed, or cooked foods

Eating a whole fruit instead of drinking juice decreases the

glycemic response because fiber in fruit slows absorption

Adding foods c sugars to the diet may result in lower glycemic
response if these foods are eaten c foods that are more slowly

Pt can create their own glycemic index by monitoring their blood
glucose level after ingestion of a particular food

Other Dietary concerns

Alcohol consumption

Pt c diabetes do not need to give up alcoholic beverages entirely but he

must be aware of the potential adverse effects of alcohol specific to

Alcohol is absorbed before other nutrients and does not require insulin
for absorption
Large amounts can be converted to fats increasing the risk for DKA
Moderation is recommended
May lead to :
Excessive weight gain (from the high caloric content of alcohol)
Elevated glucose levels
Lower calorie or less sweet drinks and food intake along c alcohol
consumption are advised

A major danger of alcohol consumption esp for pt who take insulin

Alcohol may decrease the normal physiologic reactions in the body that

produce glucose (gluconeogenesis)

If a pt c DM consumes alcohol on an empty stomach, there is an

increased likelihood of hypoglycemia

Pt should be cautioned to consume food along c the alcohol however
CHO consumed c alcohol may raise blood glucose


Use of artificial sweeteners is acceptable

Moderation is encouraged to avoid potential adverse effects
2 main types : Nutritive and Nonnutritive

Nutritive sweeteners

Contain calories
Include fructiose , sorbitol, and xylitol , all of w/c provide calories in

amounts similar to those in sucrose (table sugar)

Cause less elevation in blood sugar levels than sucrose does
Often used in sugar-free foods
Sweeteners containing sorbitol may have laxative effect

Nonnutritive sweeteners

Misleading food labels

Foods labeled sugarless or sugar-free may still provide calories

equal to those of the equivalent sugar-containing products if they are
made c nutritive sweeteners

The above foods should not be considered free foods to be eaten in

unlimited quantity because they can elevate blood glucose levels

physical examination and exercise stress may be warranted before an

II. Exercise
Extremely important in DM management because of its effects :
Lowers blood glucose levels by increasing the uptake of glucose by

body muscles and by improving insulin utilization

Improves circulation and muscle tone
Can increase lean muscle mass thereby increasing the resting

metabolic rate
Alters blood lipid concentrations, increasing HDL and decreasing

cholesterol and triglyceride levels

Effects are useful in DM in relation to :
Losing weight
Easing stress
Maintaining a feeling of wellbeing
Prevent occurrence of Cardiovascular disease in w/c diabetic pt
are at risk to
Exercise coupled c weight loss improves insulin sensitivity and may decrease
the need for insulin or oral diabetic agents
Exercise Recommendations

Ideally , a person c diabetes should exercise at the same time

(preferably when blood glucose levels are at their peak) and in the same

amount each day

Regular daily exercise rather than sporadic exercise should be

Must be altered as necessary for pt c diabetic complications
Avoiding trauma to lower extremities is esp. important in pt c numbness

r/t neuropathy
Increased BP associated c exercise may aggravate diabetic retinopathy

and increase risk of hemorrhage into retina

In general, a slow , gradual increase in the exercise period is

For pt older than 30 y/o and who have 2 or more risks factors for
heart disease , an exercise stress test is recommended

Exercise Precautions

Pt who have blood glucose levels exceeding 250 mg/dL and who have
ketones in their urine should not begin exercising until the urine test
results are negative for ketones and blood glucose level is closer to

Exercising c elevated blood glucose level increases the secretion of
glucagon, GH, and catecholamines . Liver then releases more glucose

and the result is an increase in blood glucose level

The physiologic decrease in circulating insulin that normally occurs c

exercise cannot occur in pt treated c insulin

Pt who require insulin should be taught to eat a 15 g CHO snack before

engaging in moderate exercise to prevent unexpected hypoglycemia

Pt taking insulin and participating in extended periods of exercise
should test their blood glucose levels before, during and after exercise

Post exercise hypoglycemia

Potential concern for pt who take insulin

May occur many hours after exercise
Pt may need to eat a snack at the end of exercise session and at
bedtime and monitor blood glucose level more frequently

Gerontologic considerations

Advantages of exercise in elderly :

Decrease in hyperglycemia
General sense of well being
Better use of ingested calories resulting in weight reduction
Because there is an increased incidence of cardiovascular problems, a

exercise program is initiated

Physical impairment due to other chronic illness must also be

III. Monitoring Glucose levels and Ketones

Self-Monitoring of Blood glucose (SMBG)
Using frequent SMBG and learning how to respond to the results enable

Responding to Self-Monitoring of Blood glucose results

people with diabetes to adjust their treatment regimen to obtain

optimal blood glucose control
Allows for detection and prevention of hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia
Various methods of SMBG are available , most involve :
Obtaining of blood from fingertip ,applying blood to a special

detect patterns
To evaluate the need for dosage adjustments :
Testing is done at the peak action time of the medication
To evaluate basal insulin and determine bolus insulin doses :
Testing is done before meals
To determine bolus doses of regular or rapid acting insulin :
Testing is done 2 h after meals
Pt c type II DM :
Encouraged to test daily before and 2 h after the largest meal

the amt of time specified by the manufacturer

The Meter gives a digital readout of the blood glucose value
Meters are also available to check both blood glucose and blood

ketone levels
Laboratory methods measure plasma glucose
Plasma glucose values are 10 % to 15 % higher than whole blood

of the day until stabilized

Pt who take insulin at bedtime or who use insulin infusion pump :
Should test at 3 am once a week to document that the blood

glucose values
It is important for pt c DM to know whether their monitor and

glucose level is not decreasing during the night

A tendency to discontinue SMBG is more likely to occur if :
Pt does not receive instruction about using the results to alter

Pt are asked to keep a record of blood glucose levels so that they can

reagent strip and allowing the blood to stay on the strip for

With stress or illnesses

strips provide whole blood or plasma results

Methods for SMBG must match the skill level of pt
Factors affecting SMBG performance :
Visual acuity
Fine motor coordination
Cognitive ability
Comfort c technology
Willingness to use it
A potential hazard of all methods of SMBG is that pt may obtain and

the treatment regimen

Positive reinforcement is not given
Costs of testing increase
Baseline patterns should be established by SMBG for 1 to 2 weeks

Using a continuous glucose monitoring system (CGMS)

Can be used to continuously monitor blood glucose levels

A sensor attached to an infusion set w/c is similar to an insulin pump
infusion set , is inserted SQ in the abdomen and connected to the

report erroneous blood glucose values as a result of using incorrect

device worn on a belt

After 72 h , the data from the device are downloaded , and blood

glucose readings are analyzed

Cannot be used for making decisions about specific insulin doses but

Some common causes of error in SMBG :
Improper application of blood (e.g drop too small)
Damage to the reagent strips caused by heat or humidity
Use of outdated strips
Improper meter cleaning and maintenance
Nurses play an important role in providing initial teaching about SMBG

Q 6 to 12 mos. Pt should conduct a comparison of their meter result c a

Testing for Glycated Hemoglobin

simultaneous laboratory-measured blood glucose level

Accuracy of the meter and strips can also be assessed c control

can be used determine whether treatment is adequate over a 24-h


solutions specific to that meter whenever :

A new vial of strips is used
The validity of the reading is in doubt

Also referred to as :
Glycosylated hemoglobin
Blood test that reflects ave. blood glucose levels over a period of app.

Candidates for Self-Monitoring of Blood Glucose

2 to 3 mos.
When blood glucose levels are elevated, glucose molecules attach to

hemoglobin in RBC
The hemoglobin-glucose binding is permanent and lasts for the life of

an individual RBC ,app. 120 days

If the pt reports mostly normal SMBG results but the glycated

SMBG is recommended for pt c following conditions :

Unstable DM
Tendency to develop severe ketosis or hypoglycemia
Hypoglycemia s warning symptoms
For pt not taking insulin , SMBG is helpful for :
Monitoring effectiveness of exercise , diet and oral
For pt

antidiabetic agents
Motivate pt to continue c treatment
c type II DM , SMBG is recommended :
During periods of suspected hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia
When the medication or dosage of medication is modified

hemoglobin is high , there may be :

Errors in the methods used for glucose monitoring
Errors in recording results
Frequent elevations in glucose levels at times during the day

when the pt is not usually monitoring blood sugar levels

Normal values typically range from 4 % to 6%
Target range for people c DM is < 7 %

Frequency of Self-Monitoring of Blood glucose

For pt who require insulin :

2 to 4 x daily (usually before meals and bedtime)
For pt who take insulin before each meal:
At least 3 x daily before meals to determine each dose
For pt who is not receiving insulin :
At least 2 or 3 x per week , including a 2-hr postprandial test
For all pt :
Whenever hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia is suspected
With changes in medications , activity, diet

Testing for Ketones

Ketones are byproducts of fat breakdown and they accumulate in the

blood and urine
Ketonuria signal that :
There is a deficiency of insulin
Control of type I DM is deteriorating
Risk of DKA is high

Urine testing is the most common method used for self-testing of

ketone bodies by pt
A meter that enables testing of blood for ketones is available
Most commonly, pt uses a urine dipstick to detect ketonuria :
Ketostix or Chemstrip uK
The reagent pad on the strip turns purple when ketones are


A number of insulin preparations are available

They vary acc. to 3 main characteristics : time course of action,
species, and manufacturer

Other strips are available for measuring both urine glucose and

Time course of Action

ketones (Keto-Diastix or Chemstrip uGK)

Large amt of ketones may depress the color response of the

glucose test area

Urine ketone testing should be performed whenever :
Pt c type I DM have glycosuria or persistently elevated glucose

levels ( > 240 mg/dL )

During illness
In pregnancy c preexisting Dm
In gestational DM

Insulins may be grouped into several categories based on :

Duration of action
Rapid acting insulins
Produce a more rapid effect than regular insulin
Because of their rapid onset, pt should be instructed to eat no
more than 5 to 15 min after injection
Short acting insulins
Also called regular insulin
A clear solution
Usually administered 20 to 30 min. before a meal either alone or
in combination c a longer-acting insulin
Only insulin approved for IV use
Intermediate acting insulins
Also called NPH insulin (neutral protamine Hagedorn) or Lente

Appear white and cloudy
If taken alone, it is not crucial that it be taken 30 min. before

the meal
It is important that pt eat some food around the time of the

onset and peak of these insulins

Function as basal insulins but may have to be split into 2

injections to achieve 24 h coverage

Very long acting insulins
Peakless basal insulin
Approved by the FDA for use as a basal insulin i.e the insulin is

absorbed very slowly over 24 h and can be given OD

Because the insulin is in a suspension c a pH of 4 , it cannot be

mixed c other insulin because this would cause precipitation

It was originally approved to be given OD at bedtime but has
now been approved to be given OD at any time of the day but
must be given at the same time each day to prevent overlap of

Basal insulin is necessary to maintain blood glucose levels

irrespective of meals
Nurse should emphasize w/c meals are being covered by w/c insulin
doses :
Rapid acting and short acting insulins are expected to cover the
increase in glucose levels after meals , immediately after

Intermediate acting insulin are expected to cover subsequent

Long acting insulin provide a relatively constant level of insulin
and act as a basal insulin

Species (source)

In the past , all insulins were obtained from beef (cow) and pork (pig)

IV. Pharmacologic Therapy

Human insulins are now widely available
Human insulins are preferable to animal source because they are not

Insulin Therapy

antigenic and do not depend on sufficient animal sources

Human insulin preparations have a shorter duration of action than from

In type I DM : Exogenous insulin must be administered for life

because the body loses the ability to produce insulin

In type II DM : Insulin may be necessary for a long term basis to
control glucose levels if meal planning and oral agents are ineffective
and temporarily during illness, infection , pregnancy , surgery or some
other stressful events

animal because the presence of animal protein triggers an immune

response that results in the binding of animal insulin w/c slows its
Insulin regimens

Vary from 1 to 4 injections per day

Usually there is a combination of a short acting insulin and a longer

There is an immediate local skin reaction that gradually spreads into

acting insulin
There are 2 gen. approaches to insulin therapy : conventional and

generalized urticaria (hives)

Occasionally associated c generalized edema or anaphylaxis
Treatment is desensitization c small doses of insulin administrated in

Pt can learn to use SMBG results and CHO counting to vary insulin
Complex insulin regimens require a strong level of commitment ,

Insulin Lipodystrophy

intensive education and close follow up by health care team

Pt should be very involved in the decision regarding which insulin

regimen to use
There are not set guidelines as to w/c insulin regimen should be used
for w/c pt

Conventional regimen

gradually increasing amt using a desensitization kit

A localized reaction in the form of either lipoatrophy or

lipohypertrophy occurring at the site of insulin injection


Loss of SQ fat
Appears as a slight dimpling or more serious pitting of SQ fat
Use of human insulin has almost eliminated this disfiguring complication

This approach is to simplify the insulin regimen as much as possible c

the aim of avoiding acute complications of DM
Ex : One or more injections of a mixture of short acting and


intermediate acting insulins per day

Pt should not vary meal patterns and activity levels
Would be appropriate for :
Terminally ill
Frail elderly c limited self care abilities
Pt who are completely unwilling or unable to engage in the self-

Development of fibrofatty masses at the injection sites

Caused by repeated use of an injection site
If insulin is injected into scarred areas , absorption may be delayed
Rotation of injection sites is so important

Resistance to Injected Insulin

management activities that are part of a more complex insulin

Obesity is the most common reason

Daily insulin requirement of 200 units or more
In most pt c DM who take insulin , immune antibodies develop and bind

This approach is to use a more complex insulin regimen

Allows the pt more flexibility to change the insulin doses from day to

the insulin thereby decreasing the insulin available for use

All animal insulins and human insulins to a lesser degree , cause antibody

day in accordance c changes in eating and activity patterns , c stress

production in humans
Very few resistant pt develop high levels of antibodies , many of these

and illness
3 to 4 injections of insulin per day
It is found out that Risk of severe hypoglycemia was increased in pt

Treatment consists of administering a more concentrated insulin

receiving intensive treatment

Pt who have received a kidney transplant because of nephropathy and

preparation such as U500

Prednisone is need to block the production of antibodies and this may

Intensive regimen

pt have a history of insulin therapy interrupted for several months or

chronic renal failure should follow an intensive insulin regimen to

be followed by a gradual reduction in the insulin requirement and

preserve function of the new kidney

Not candidates are pt c :
NS disorders rendering them unaware of hypoglycemic episodes
Recurring severe hypoglycemia
Irreversible diabetic complications
Cerebrovascular or Cardiovascular disease
Ineffective self care skills

therefore pt must monitor their blood for hypoglycemia

Morning hypoglycemia

Caused by several factors : dawn , insulin , somogyi

To determine the cause , pt must be awakened once or twice during the
night to test blood glucose levels (testing at bedtime , at 3 am, and on
awakening )

Dawn phenomenon
Complications of Insulin Therapy
Local Allergic Reactions

Relatively normal blood glucose level until app 3 am when the level

begins to rise
Result from nocturnal surges in GH secretion w/c create a greater

need for insulin in the early morning hours in pt c DM type I

Treatment is change time of injection of evening intermediate-acting

Redness , swelling, tenderness, and induration or a 2-4 cm wheal

May appear at the injection site 1 to 2 hrs after the insulin

Usually occur during the beginning stages of therapy and disappear c

Insulin waning

continued use of insulin

Now becoming rare because of the increased use of human insulins
Physician may prescribe an antihistamine to be taken 1 hr before the

injection is such occurs

Systemic Allergic Reactions


insulin from dinnertime to bedtime

Progressive increase in blood glucose from bedtime to morning

Treatment is increase evening dose of intermediate acting or long
acting insulin or institute a dose of insulin before the evening meal if
one is not already part of the treatment regimen

Somogyi effect

Normal or elevated blood glucose at bed time , a decrease at 2-3 am to

Jet injectors

hypoglycemia levels and a subsequent increase caused by production of

counterregulatory hormones
Nocturnal hypoglycemia followed by rebound hyperglycemia

Used as an alternative to needle injections

Deliver insulin through skin under pressure in an extremely fine stream
More expensive and require thorough training and supervision when

first used
Pt should be cautioned that absorption rates, peak insulin activity, and

insulin levels may be different when changing to a jet injector

Insulin administered by jet injector is usually absorbed faster
Has been associated c bruising in some pt

Insulin pumps

Continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion

Use small , externally worn devices that closely mimic the functioning

of the normal pancreas

Contain a 3-mL syringe attached to a long (24-to 42-in) thin , narrow-

lumen tube c a needle or Teflon catheter attached to the end

Pt inserts the needle or catheter into subcutaneous tissue (usually on

abdomen) ad secures it c tape or a transparent dressing

Needle or catheter is changed at least q 3 days
Pump is worn either on belt or in a pocket
Insulin is delivered by subcutaneous infusion at a basal rate (eg 0.5 to

2.0 units/h)
When a meal is consumed , pt calculates a dose of insulin to metabolize
the meal by counting the total amount of CHO for the meal using a
predetermined insulin-to-CHO ratio ( eg. 1 unit of insulin for q 15 g

CHO would require 3 units of insulin for a meal c 45 g CHO )

Pump can easily be disconnected per pt preference , for limited periods
Pt must be willing to assess their blood glucose level several times daily
Most common risk is ketoacidosis w/c can occur if there is an occlusion

in the infusion set or tubing

Because only rapid acting insulin is used in the pump, any interruption in

the flow of insulin may rapidly cause the pt to be without insulin

Pt should be taught to administer insulin by manual injection if an

insulin interruption is suspected

Have been used in pt c type II DM whose beta-cell function has

diminished and who require insulin

No risk of DKA when there is an interruption of the flow of insulin in
people c type II DM

Possible disadvantages

Unexpected disruptions in the flow of insulin from the pump that may

occur (increases risk of DKA) :

If tubing or needle becomes occluded
If supply of insulin runs out
If battery is depleted
Potential for infection at needle insertion sites
Incidence of hypoglycemia unawareness (very gradual decline in serum
glucose level from > 70 mg/dL to < 60 mg/dL

Methods of Insulin delivery

Transplantation of pancreatic cells

Insulin pens

Use small (150-to 300unit ) prefilled insulin cartridges that are loaded

into a penlike holder

A disposable needle is attached to the device for insulin injection
Insulin is deliver by pushing a button for q 1- or 2-unit increment

People still need to insert the needle for each injection but do not need

to carry insulin bottles or draw up insulin before each injection

Most useful in pt who need to inject only one type of insulin at a time

or who can use the premixed insulins

Convenient for those who administer insulin before dinner if eating out

or travelling
Also useful for pt c impaired manual dexterity , vision or cognitive
function w/c makes use of traditional syringes difficult

Transplantation of the whole pancreas or a segment of pancreas is

being performed on a limited population , mostly pt c DM who are

receiving kidney transplantation simultaneously

One main issue is weighing the risks of antirejection medications

against the advantages of pancreas transplantation

Implantation is under investigation
Independence from exogenous insulin has been limited to 2 yrs after
transplantation of islet cells

Oral Antidiabetic agents

May be effective for pt who have type II that cannot be treated

effectively c MNT and exercise alone

Include :


First and second generation sulfonylureas

Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors
Non-sulfonylurea insulin secretogogues (meglitinides and

phenylalanine derivatives )
Thiazolidinediones (glitazones)
Dipeptide-peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors
Sulfonylureas and meglitinides are considered insulin secretagogues
because their action increases the secretion of insulin by the

pancreatic beta cells

Prescribed in addition to , not substitute for other treatment

modalities such as MNT or exercise

In time, they may no longer be effective in controlling DM because of
decline in function of beta cells . In such cases, pt is treated c insulin

Secondary failure

App. half of all pt who initially use oral antidiabetic agents eventually
require insulin

Primary failure

Blood glucose remains high 1 mos. After initial medication use

Other pharmacologic therapy

Pramlintide (Symlin)

A synthetic analogue of human amylin , a hormone that is secreted by

beta cells of pancreas

Approved for treatment of both type I and type II DM
Used to control hyperglycemia in adults who have not achieved
acceptable levels of glucose control despite the use of insulin at

Used c insulin , not in place of insulin
Hypoglycemia is an associated risk
Must be injected in the abdomen or thigh because of variable

absorption rates if it is injected into the arm

Should not be injected close to an insulin injection site
Pt are instructed to monitor blood glucose level before each meal, 2 h
afterward, and at bedtime during the initial period of use

Exenatide (Byetta)

Approved for the treatment of type II DM in combination c metformin

or sulfonylureas
Derived from a hormone that is produced in the small intestine and has

been found to be deficient in type II DM

Normally released after food is ingested to delay gastric emptying and
enhance insulin secretion resulting in dampening of the rise in blood

glucose levels after meals and a feeling of satiety

Return of blood glucose level to normal results in decreased production

of the hormone
Hypoglycemia is not a side effect if adjustments are made in the

sulfonylurea dose
Has been shown to result in weight loss because of the increased

satiety produced
Must be injected 2 x a day within 1 h before breakfast and dinner
Not a substitute for insulin in pt who require insulin to control their

3 sizes of U-100 insulin syringes are available :

1 mL syringes that hold 100 units
0.5 mL syringes that hold 50 units
0.3 mL syringes that hold 30 units
Most insulin syringes have disposable 27 to 29 gauge needle that is app. 0.5

inch long
The 1-mL syringes are marked in 1 and 2 unit increments
A small disposable insulin needle 31 gauge , 8 mm long is available for very

thin pt and children

Mixing Insulins

When short-acting insulins are to be given simultaneously w/ longer-acting

insulins , they are usually mixed together in same syringe

Longer-acting insulins must be mixed thoroughly before drawing into syringe
Regular insulin should be drawn up first
Patients should be consistent in how they prepare their insulin injections
from day to day :
So as not to draw up the wrong dose in error or wrong type of

So as not to inject one type of insulin into the bottle containing a

diff. type of insulin

Injecting cloudy insulin into a vial of clear insulin :
Contaminates the entire vial of clear insulin
Alters action of clear insulin
For pt who have difficulty mixing insulins , several options are available :
Pt may use Premixed insulin
May have Prefilled syringes prepared
Pt may take 2 injections
Premixed insulin

Available in several diff. ratios of NPH insulin to regular insulin :

Ratio of 70/30 (70% NPH and 30% regular insulin in one bottle) is

the most common

Available as Novolin 70/30 (Novo-Nordisk) and Humulin 70/30

Combinations w/ a ratio of 75 % NPL (neutral protamine lispro) and 25%
insulin lispro are also available
NPL is used only in the mix w/ Humalog
NPL action is same as NPH
Prefilled syringes

Nursing Management

V. Education
Storing Insulin


be refrigerated
not be allowed to freeze
not be kept in direct sunlight or in a hot car
be kept at room temperature to reduce local irritation at the

injection site w/c may occur if cold insulin is injected

Pt should be instructed to always have a spare vial of the type or types of

For pt who can inject insulin but who have difficult drawing up a single or

mixed dose
May be done with the help of home care nurses or family and friends
A 3-week supply of insulin syringes may be prepared and kept in ref
Should be stored w/ the needle in an upright position to avoid clogging of

the needle
Should be mixed thoroughly before the insulin is injected
Withdrawing Insulin

insulin to be withdrawn to prevent the formation of a vacuum inside the

bottle w/c would make it difficult to withdraw the proper amount of insulin

insulin he or she uses

Cloudy insulins should be thoroughly mixed by gently inverting the vial or

Selecting and Rotating the Injection Site

rolling it bet. the hands before drawing the solution into a syringe or pen
Bottles of intermediate-acting insulin should also be inspected for
flocculation ,
There is a frosted, whitish coating inside the bottle
Occurs most commonly w/ human insulins that are exposed to

extremes of temp.
If present, some of the insulin is bound and it should not be used

Selecting syringes

Syringes must be matched w/ the insulin concentration (e.g U-100)

Inject air into the bottle of insulin equivalent to the number of units of

Four main areas for injection :

Abdomen (speed of absorption is greatest)
Posterior upper arms
Anterior surface of thighs
Systemic rotation of injection sites within an anatomic area
To prevent localized changes in fatty tissue (lipodystrophy)
To promote consistency in insulin absorption

Use all available injection sites within one area rather than
randomly rotating sites from area to area (e.g pt may exclusively
use the abdominal area , administering each injection 0.5 to 1 inch

away from the previous injection )

Always use the same area at the same time of day (e.g pt may
inject morning doses into abdomen and evening doses into arms or

Few general principles to all rotation patterns :
Pt should not try to use the same site more than once in 2 to 3

If pt is planning to exercise, insulin should not be injected into the
limb that will be exercised because this will cause drug to be


absorbed faster w/c may result in hypoglycemia

Avoid repeated injections into the same site within an area
Use the same anatomic area at the same time of the day

Preparing the Skin

Use of alcohol to cleanse the skin is not recommended

Pt should be cautioned to allow the skin to dry after cleansing w/ alcohol
Alcohol may be carried into the tissues if skin is not allowed to dry before
injection w/c may result in a localized reddened area and burning sensation
Inserting the needle

Technique is based on the need for the insulin to be injected into the SQ

Injection that is too deep or too shallow may affect the rate of absorption

of insulin
A 90 degree angle is the best insertion angle for a normal or overweight

Some pt may be taught to insert needle at 45 degree angle
Aspiration is generally not recommended

Disposing of Syringes and Needles

Used sharps should be placed in a puncture-resistant container

Filled containers should not be mixed w/ containers to be recycled

Moderate hypoglycemia
Inability to concentrate
Emotional changes
Memory lapses
Irrational or combative behavior
Numbness of lips and tongue
Double vision
Slurred speech
Impaired coordination


Severe hypoglycemia
Disoriented behavior
Difficulty arousing from sleep
Loss of consciousness


III. Assessment and Diagnostic Findings

Symptoms may occur suddenly and vary considerably from person to person
Acute Complications of Diabetes

Hypoglycemia (Insulin Reactions)

Occurs when blood glucose falls to less than 50 to 60 mg/dL because

of :

Too much insulin or oral hypoglycemic agents

Too little food
Excessive physical activity

I. Gerontologic considerations

Hypoglycemia is a particular concern for many reasons :

Elderly frequently live alone and may not recognize symptoms

of hypoglycemia
With decreasing renal function , it takes longer for oral

hypoglycemic agents to be excreted by kidneys

Skipping meals may occur because of decreased appetite or

financial limitations
Decreased visual acuity may lead to errors in insulin

II. Clinical Manifestations

May be grouped into 2 categories :

Adrenergic symptoms
CNS symptoms

Decreased hormonal (adrenergic) response

Usually occurs in some pt who have had diabetes for many years
May be r/t autonomic neuropathy
May Contribute to lack of symptoms of hypoglycemia
As the blood glucose level falls, the normal surge in adrenalin

does not occur , and usual adrenergic symptoms do not take place
The hypoglycemia may not be detected until moderate or severe
CNS impairment occurs

IV. Management
Treating w/ CHO

Usual recommendation is 15 g of a fast-acting concentrated

source of CHO such as the ff give orally :

3 or 4 commercially prepared glucose tablets
4 to 6 oz of fruit juice or regular soda
6 to 10 hard candies
2 to 3 teaspoons of sugar or honey
It is not necessary to add sugar to juice , fruit sugar in juice

contains enough CHO to raise the blood glucose level

Blood glucose level should be retested in 15 min. and retreated if

it is less than 70 to 75 mg/dL

If symptoms persist for longer than 10 to 15 min. after initial

treatment, treatment is repeated

Once symptoms resolve, a snack containing CHON and starch is
recommended unless pt plans to eat a regular meal or snack w/in
30 to 60 min.

Mild hypoglycemia
SNS is stimulated resulting in a surge of epinephrine and norepinephrine

Initiating Emergency Measures

For adults who are unconscious and cannot swallow :

An injection of glucagon 1 mg can be administered SQ

or IM
Glucagon is a hormone produced by alpha cells to

stimulate the liver to breakdown glycogen

Injectable glucagon is packaged as a powder in 1-mg
vials and must be mixed w/ a diluents immediately


before being injected

Onset : 8 to 10 min ; Action : 12 to 27 min.
After injection , pt may take as long as 20 min. to

regain consciousness
For awakened pt :
A concentrated source of CHO followed by a snack
should be given to prevent recurrence of hypoglycemia

because duration of action of 1mg glucagon is brief

Some pt experience nausea after administration of
glucagon , pt should be turned to the side to prevent

aspiration just in case

In hospitals , for pt who are unconscious or cannot swallow
25 to 50 mL of 50% dextrose in water (D50W) may be

administered IV
Pt may complain of headache and pain at injection site
Assessing patency of IV line is essential because
hypertonic solutions such as D50W are very irritating
to veins

Providing pt education

Hypoglycemia is prevented by :
Consistent pattern of eating
Administering insulin
Routine blood glucose tests are performed so that changing

insulin requirements may be anticipated and dosage adjusted

Pt and family members must be instructed to recognize symptoms

of hypoglycemia
Autonomic neuropathy or beta blockers such as propranolol

(Inderal) may mask the typical symptoms of hypoglycemia

Pt who have type 2 diabetes and who take oral sulfonylurea

agents may also develop hypoglycemia

It is important for pt w/ diabetes to learn to carry some form of

simple sugar w/ them at all times

Pt are advised to refrain from eating high-calorie high-fat desert

foods to treat hypoglycemia because their high fat content may

slow absorption of the glucose and resolution of the hypoglycemic

Pt may subsequently eat more of the foods mentioned when
symptoms do not resolve rapidly w/c may cause very high blood
glucose levels for several hours and may contribute to weight gain

If vomiting, diarrhea or fever persists , take liquids q to 1 hr to

prevent dehydration and to provide calories

Report nausea, vomiting and diarrhea to your health care provider ,

because extreme fluid loss may be dangerous

Never eliminate insulin doses when n/v occur
If you are unable to retain oral fluids , you may require
hospitalization to avoid diabetic ketoacidosis and possibly coma

IV. Clinical Manifestations

Hyperglycemia leads to the ff

Blurred vision
Mental status varies widely
(alert, lethargic, comatose)

Ketosis and Acidosis lead to GI


Diabetic Ketoacidosis
I. Definition
Caused by an absence or inadequate amount of insulin
Insulin deficiency results in disorders in the metabolism of CHO,

CHON, and fat

3 main clinical features :
Dehydration and electrolyte loss
Main causes of DKA :
Decreased or missed dose of insulin
Illness or infection
Undiagnosed and untreated diabetes (DKA may be the initial

volume depletion

glucose production by the liver and interfere w/ glucose

utilization by muscle & fat tissue, counteracting the effect of

Take insulin or oral antidiabetic agents as usual

Test blood glucose and test urine ketones q 3 to 4 h
Report elevated glucose levels (>300 mg/dL) or urine ketones to the

health care provider

If you take insulin , you may need supplemental doses of regular

insulin q 3 to 4 h
If you cannot follow you usual meal plan, substitute soft foods 6 to
8 x per day

Orthostatic hypotension

Abdominal pain
Acetone breath (fruity odor)
Kussmaul respiration

Frank hypotension
Weak, rapid pulse

Blood glucose levels may vary bet. 300 and 800 mg/dL
Evidence of ketoacidosis Low serum bicarbonate (0 to 15 mEq/L) ,

low pH (6.8 t 7.3)

Respiratory compensation Low partial pressure of CO2 (PCO2; 10 to

30 mm Hg)
Metabolic acidosis - Kussmaul respirations
Accumulation of ketone bodies Blood and urine ketone

Sodium & potassium concentrations may be low, normal or high

depending on the amount of water loss

Dehydration Increased levels of Creatinine, blood urea nitrogen and
hematocrit may also be seen

III. Prevention


V. Assessment and Diagnostic Findings

cortisol, growth horme) in response to stress w/c promote

Guidelines to follow during periods of illness (Sick day rules)


Pt w/ marked intravascular

manifestation of diabetes)
Insulin deficit may result from :
Insufficient dosage of insulin prescribed
Errors in insulin dosage
Pt error in drawing up or injecting insulin
Intentional skipping of insulin doses
Equipment problems
Illness and Infection are associated w/ insulin resistance
Stress hormones (glucagon, epinephrine, norepinephrine,

VI. Management

Important for maintaining tissue perfusion

Enhances excretion of excessive glucose by kidneys
Pt may need as much as 6 to 10 L of IV fluid to replace fluid caused by

Polyuria, hyperventilation, diarrhea, and vomiting

Initially , 0.9 % sodium chloride (normal saline) solution is administered
at a rapid rate, usually 0.5 to 1L/h for 2 to 3 h

Half strength normal saline (0.45%) solution (hypotonic saline solution)

Must be infused continuously until SQ administration of insulin can be

Any interruption in administration may result in the reaccumulation of

for heart failure

After the first few hrs, half-strength nss is the fluid of choice for

ketone bodies
Even if blood glucose levels are decreasing and returning to normal ,

continued rehydration
Moderate to high rates of infusion (200 to 500 mL/h) may be needed

for several more hrs

When blood glucose level reaches 300 mg/dL or less , IV solution may

may be used for pt w/ hypertension or hypernatremia and those at risk

be changed to dextrose 5 % in water (D5W) to prevent a precipitous

decline in blood glucose level
Monitoring of fluid volume status involves :
o Frequent measurements of v/s
o Lung assessment
o Monitoring of I & O
Plasma expanders may be necessary to correct severe hypotension that

does not respond to IV fluid treatment

Monitoring for signs of fluid overload is essential esp for pt who are :
Have renal impairment
At risk for heart failure

Restoring Electrolytes
The major electrolyte of concern during treatment of DKA is potassium
Serum level of potassium decreases as potassium reenters the cells

during the course of treatment of DKA

Some factors r/t to treating DKA that reduce serum potassium

concentration :
1. Rehydration

Leads to increased plasma volume and subsequent decreases in the

concentration of serum potassium

Also leads to increased urinary excretion of potassium

2. Insulin administration
Enhances the movement of potassium from the extracellular fluid into

the cells

Potassium replacement

Cautious but timely replacement is vital to avoid dysrhythmias that

may occur w/ hypokalemia

As much as 40 mEq/h may be needed for several hrs
Because extracellular potassium levels decrease during DKA
treatment, potassium must be infused even if plasma potassium level

is normal
Frequent (q 2 to 4 hr initially) ECGs and laboratory measurements of

potassium are necessary during the first 8 hrs of treatment

Withheld only if hyperkalemia is present or if the pt is not urinating

Reversing Acidosis

Acidosis that occurs in DKA is reversed w/ insulin w/c inhibits fat

breakdown thereby topping acid buildup

Insulin is usually infused IV at a slow, continuous rate (5 units/h)
Hourly blood glucose values must be measured
IVF solutions w/ higher concentrations of glucose such as NSS are

administered when blood glucose levels reach 250 to 300 mg /dL

Regular insulin is the only type of insulin approved for IV use , may be

added to IV solutions
Nurse must convert hourly rates of insulin infusion (units/hr) to IV
drip rates i.e 1 unit of insulin = 5 mL
(5 units/h = 25 mL/h)

insulin drip must not be stopped until SQ insulin therapy has been
started . Rather the rate or concentration of the dextrose infusion

should be increased
IV insulin may be continued for 12 to 24 hr until serum bicarbonate

level increases (15 to 18 mEq/L) and until the pt can eat

Bicarbonate infusion to correct severe acidosis is avoided during
treatment of DKA because it precipitates further, sudden decreases
in serum potassium levels

III. Assessment and Diagnostic Findings

Hyperglycemic Hyperosmolar Nonketotic Syndrome

Laboratory Tests


I. Definition

Hyperosmolarity and hyperglycemia predominate w/ alterations of the

sensorium (sense of awareness)

Ketosis is usually minimal or absent
The basic biochemical defect is lack of effective insulin i.e insulin

Persistent hyperglycemia causes osmotic diuresis w/c results in loss

of water and electrolytes

To maintain osmotic equilibrium , water shifts from intracellular fluid

space to extracellular fluid space

With glycosuria and dehydration , the ff occur :
Increased osmolarity
Occurs most often in older people (50 to 70 years of age) who have

Blood glucose - 600 to 1200 mg/dL

Electrolytes and BUN levels are consistent
w/ clinical picture of severe dehydration
Serum osmolality exceeds 350 mOsm/kg
ABG analysis

Mental status changes . Focal neu

and Hallucinations are common
dehydration that results from
Postural hypotension accompanie

IV. Management

Similar to that of DKA : fluid replacement, correction of

electrolyte imbalances, and insulin administration

Because pt of HHNS are typically older, close monitoring of

no known history of diabetes or who have type 2

Often can be traced in a precipitating events :
Acute illness
Medications that exacerbate hyperglycemia (e.g thiazides)
Treatment (e.g dialysis)
History includes days to weeks of Polyuria w/ adequate fluid intake
Insulin level is too low to prevent hyperglycemia and subsequent

volume and electrolyte status is important for prevent of :

Fluid overload
Heart failure
Cardiac dysrhythmias
Fluid treatment is started w/ 0.9 % or 0.45% NS depending on

osmotic diuresis but is high enough to prevent fat breakdown

Pt may tolerate Polyuria and Polydipsia until neurologic changes

pts sodium level and severity of volume depletion

Central venous or hemodynamic pressure monitoring guides fluid

prompts them to seek treatment

Mortality ranges from 10 % to 40 %

Potassium is added to IVF when urinary output is adequate and

guided by continuous ECG monitoring and lab. determination of

II. Clinical Manifestations

Dry mucous membranes
Poor skin turgor
Variable neurologic signs (alteration of sensorium, seizures,
hemiparesis )

Extremely elevated blood glucose concentration decrease as the
pt is rehydrated , Insulin is not needed

Long term Complications of Diabetes

Macrovascular Disease
Microvascular Disease

Macrovascular Complications

Result from changes in the medium to large blood vessels

Blood vessel walls thicken, sclerose and become occluded by plaque ,
eventually blood flow is blocked
Tend to occur more often and at an earlier age in pt w/ diabetes
Main types of Macrovascular complications :

Myocardial infarction

Twice as common in men w/ diabetes and three times as common in

women w/ diabetes compared to people w/o diabetes

The typical ischemic symptoms may be absent in pt w/ diabetes
Pt may not experience the early warning signs and may have silent MIs
Lack of ischemic symptoms may be s/t autonomic neuropathy

Cerebrovascular disease
People w/ diabetes have twice the risk
Recovery from stroke may be impaired in pt who have elevated blood
glucose levels at the time & immediately after stroke
Symptoms of CVA may be similar to symptoms of acute diabetic
complications , it is very important to assess blood glucose level rapidly
Peripheral vascular disease

Two to three times higher risk in diabetic pt

S/S :
Diminished peripheral pulses
Intermittent claudication (pain the buttock, thigh, calf during

Severe form is largely responsible for increased incidence of gangrene

and subsequent amputation

Neuropathy and impairments in wound healing also play a role in
diabetic foot disease


Modification and reduction of risk factors

MNT and exercise
Smoking cessation
Control of blood glucose levels


Floaters or cobwebs in the visual field

Spotty or hazy vision
Complete loss of vision

Microvascular Complications/Microangiopathy

Capillary basement membrane thickening

The basement membrane surrounds the endothelial cells of capillary
Increased blood glucose levels react through series of biochemical

III. Assessment and Diagnostic Findings

Diagnosis is by direct visualization of the retina through dilated

responses to thicken the basement membrane to several times its

pupils w/ an ophthalmoscope or w/ a technique known as fluorescein

normal thickness
Two areas affected are retina and kidneys

Fluorescein angiography

Diabetic Retinopathy

I. Definition

Changes in the microvasculature :
Intraretinal hemorrhage
Hard exudates
Focal capillary closure

3 Main Stages :

body through blood but esp. through vessels of retina of eye

Side effects :
o Nausea during dye injection
o Yellowish, fluorescent discoloration of the skin and urine lasting
12 to 24 hrs
o Occasionally allergic reactions usually manifested by hives or

Leading cause of blindness

Occurs in both type 1 and type 2
Caused by changes in the small blood vessels in the retina , area of eye
that receive images and sends information about the images to the

Can document the type and activity of the retinopathy

Dye is injected into an arm vein and is carried to various parts of

Generally safe

IV. Medical Management

Maintenance of blood glucose to normal or near-normal level

Intensive insulin therapy
Pt education
Control of HTN
Control of blood glucose
Cessation of smoking

Nonproliferative retinopathy
Macular edema is a complication w/c occurs in app. 10 % of people w/ type 1
or type 2 diabetes
May lead to visual distortion and loss of central vision
Preproliferative retinopathy

Advance form of retinopathy

Precursor to the more serious proliferative retinopathy
There are more widespread vascular changes and loss of nerve fibers
If visual changes occur during this stage, they are usually caused by macular
Proliferative retinopathy

Represents the greatest threat to vision

Characterized by proliferation of new blood vessels growing from retina into
the vitreous
The new vessels are prone to bleeding
Visual loss is caused by vitreous hemorrhage , retinal detachment or both
Vitreous hemorrhage
Vitreous is normally clear , allowing light to be transmitted to
the retina
When hemorrhage occurs , vitreous is clouded and cannot
transmit light
Another consequence is resorption of blood in the vitreous leads
to formation of fibrous scar tissue
Scar tissue may place traction on the retina resulting in retinal
detachment and subsequent visual loss

II. Clinical Manifestations

Retinopathy is a painless process

Blurry vision s/t mascular edema
Indicative of hemorrhaging :

Usually performed on an outpatient basis

Limitations may be placed on activities involving weight bearing and

bearing down
Usually an anesthetic eye drop is all that is needed during the

Argon Laser photocoagulation

For advanced cases of retinopathy

Destroys leaking blood vessels and areas of neova
Panretinal photocoagulation

For pt who are at increased risk for hemorrhage

Involves systemic application of multiple laser burns
retina except in the macular region
Stops widespread growth of new vessels and hemorr
damaged vessels

Focal photocoagulation

For pt w/ macular edema

Used to apply smaller laser burns to specific areas o
microaneurysms in the macular region

Surgical procedure in w/c vitreous humor filled w/ b

tissue is removed w/ a special drill-like instrume
w/ saline or other liquid
Performed in pt who have visual loss and in whom w/
hemorrhage has not cleared on its own after 6 m
Purpose is to restore useful vision , recovery to near
not usually expected

V. Nursing Management
Teaching pt self care

Control of glucose levels and BP

Frequent eye examination
Retinopathy may appear after many years of diabetes

Continuing care

Need to see an ophthalmologist regularly

Referral for home care for those :
Who live alone
Who are not coping well
Who have other health problems


I. Definition

Renal disease s/t diabetic microvascular changes in the kidney

Pt w/ type 1 frequently show initial signs of renal disease after 10 to

15 yrs
Pt w/ type 2 develop renal disease within 10 yrs after the diagnosis of
diabetes , many of them have had diabetes for many years before
diabetes is diagnosed and treated . Therefore , they may have evidence
of nephropathy at the time of diagnosis

Consistently high blood

Kidneys filtration

Blood proteins leak into the

Pressure in the blood

IV. Management
II. Clinical manifestations
Catabolism / breakdown of both exogenous and endogenous insulin decreases
Frequent hypoglycemic episodes
As renal function decreases , pt commonly have multiple-system failure :
Declining visual acuity
Foot ulcerations
Heart failure
Nocturnal diarrhea

2 treatments in chronic / end-stage of renal failure :

1. Dialysis

III. Assessment and Diagnostic Findings

Albumin is one of the most important blood proteins that leaks into

the urine
Clinical nephropathy develops in more than 85 % of people w/

If microalbumin exceeds 30 mg/24 hours on 2 consecutive random

Requires anticoagulants that can increase the risk of bleeding after

Creates additional stress on pt w/ CV disease

Peritoneal dialysis

urine tests , a 24 hr urine sample should be obtained and tested , if

results are positive , treatment is indicated

Serum Creatinine and BUN levels should be conducted annually
Contrast agents and dyes used for some diagnostic tests may not be

easily cleared by damaged kidneys

Hypertension often develops in pt w/ and w/o diabetes who are in the

early stages of renal disease

Hypertension also occurs in people w/ diabetes for unknown reasons

Control of HTN w/ the use of ACE inhibitors (captopril [Capoten] )

Prevention or treatment of UTI
Avoidance of nephrotoxic substance s
Adjustment of medications as renal function changes
Low sodium diet
Low protein diet

Major risks : infection and peritonitis

Minimizes pressure changes in the eyes
Recommended for pt who require eye surgery

2. Transplantation from a relative or cadaver

Transplanted kidneys can eventually be damaged if blood glucose

levels are consistently high after the transplantation

Diabetic Neuropathies

Group of diseases that affect all types of nerves including :

Peripheral (sensorimotor)
Spinal nerves
Etiology may involve elevated blood glucose levels over a period of

Peripheral Neuropathy

Gastrointestinal symptoms
I. Definition

Also called Sensorimotor polyneuropathy

Most commonly affects the distal portions of the nerves esp. nerves of

the lower extremities

Affects both side of the body symmetrically
May spread in a proximal direction

Delayed gastric emptying

Early satiety
Diabetic constipation or diarrhea
Unexplained wide swings in blood glucose levels r/t incon
absorption of glucose from ingested foods s/t incons
gastric emptying

Urinary retention
Decreased sensation of bladder fullness
Risk for UTI
Hyperglycemia impairs resistance to infection

Urinary symptoms

II. Clinical Manifestations

Paresthesias (prickling , tingling or heightened sensation)

Burning sensations esp. at night
Feet become numb
Decrease in proprioception (awareness of posture and movement of

body and of position and weight of objects in relation to the body)

Decreased sensations of pain & temperature
Deformities of foot
Charcot joints may result from abnormal weight distribution on joints

resulting from lack of proprioception

Decrease in deep tendon reflex and vibratory sensation

It is important to rule other possible causes like :

Hypoglycemic Unawareness

Autonomic neuropathy that affects the adrenal medulla is responsible

for diminished adrenergic symptoms of hypoglycemia

Pt may no longer feel the typical adrenergic symptoms that associated

w/ hypoglycemia :
Frequent blood glucose monitoring is recommended for these pt
Their inability to detect and treat the warning signs of hypoglycemia

Vitamin-deficiency neuropathies

III. Management

Intensive insulin therapy

Control of blood glucose level
Pain management for pain particularly in lower extremities s/t

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)

puts them @ risk for development of dangerously low blood glucose

Pt and family need to recognize subtle and atypical symptoms of

hypoglycemia such as numbness around the mouth and impaired ability

to concentrate
Subdomotor Neuropathy

Decrease or absence of sweating (anhidrosis) of the extremities

w/ a compensatory increase in upper body sweating

Dryness of the feet increases the risk for the development of
foot ulcers

Sexual Dysfunction
Diabetic Male pt
Erectile dysfunction
Some may have normal erectile function and can experience orgasm but

do not ejaculate normally (Retrograde ejaculation seminal fluid is

propelled backward through posterior urethra and into the urinary
Examination of urine confirms diagnosis of retrograde ejaculation

Autonomic Neuropathies

because of the large number of active sperm present

Other factors for impotence aside from diabetes :

I. Clinical Manifestations


Cardiovascular symptoms
Tachycardic HR
Orthostatic hypotension
Silent or painless MI

Antihypertensive agents
Psychological factors
Other medical conditions

Diabetic Female pt

Reduced vaginal lubrication

Decreased libido

Lack of orgasm
Vaginal infection may be associated w/ decreased lubrication
Vaginal pruritus
UTI and Vaginitis may affect sexual function

II. Management
Avoiding strenuous exercise
Orthostatic hypotension may respond to a diet high in sodium
Discontinuation of medications that impede autonomic nervous system

Use of sympathomimetics
Mineralocorticoid therapy
Treatment of delayed gastric emptying :
o Low fat diet
o Frequent small meals
o Frequent blood glucose monitoring
o Use of agents that increase gastric motility (metoclopramide

[Reglan] , bethanecol [Myotonachol] )

Treatment of diabetic diarrhea :
o Laxatives
o Antidiarrheal agents
Treatment of diabetic constipation :
o High fiber diet
o Adequate hydration
o Medications
o Laxatives
o Enemas

Foot and Leg Problems

I. Complications of Diabetes that contribute to increased risk of foot
problems and infections
Sensory neuropathy leads to :

Loss of pain and pressure sensation

Autonomic neuropathy leads to :

Increased dryness
Fissuring of skin s/t decreased sweating

Motor neuropathy results in :

Muscular atrophy w/c may lead to changes in the shape of foot

Peripheral vascular disease

Poor circulation of the lower extremities contributes to poor wound

healing and development of gangrene

Development of a diabetic foot ulcer begins w/ a soft tissue injury of

Hyperglycemia impairs the ability of specialized leukocytes to destroy

In poorly controlled diabetes, there is a lowered resistance to certain

the foot, formation of a fissure bet. toes or in an area of dry skin or

formation of a callus
Pt with an insensitive foot do not feel injuries (thermal, chemical,

Teaching pt proper foot care

Controlling blood glucose levels

thoroughly inspecting both on a

Treatment for foot ulcers :


daily bass , injury or fissure may

go unnoticed until a serious

Bed rest

if pt is not in the habit of

infection has developed

First sign of foot problems :

Redness of the leg from cellulitis

II. High Risk characteristics

Duration of diabetes more than 10 years

Age older than 40 years
History of smoking
Decreased peripheral pulses
Decreased sensation
Anatomic deformities or pressure areas (e.g bunions, calluses, hammer

History of previous foot ulcers or amputation

III. Management