Recognising Medical Conditions: Part 2 – Diabetes

If the person you are caring for is a diabetic you will be aware of the treatment – tablets, injections, diet, exercise, etc. However, in some older people diabetes comes on gradually.

It is helpful to be aware of the common signs. These are:

  • Excessive thirst. Feeling more thirsty than usual may be a sign they are neglecting themselves and have become dehydrated.  However, if they drink more than one glass of fluid and want more in ten minutes or so then you might look for other indicators.
  • Going to the toilet more often than normal. Although this can be caused because the bladder has become weaker with age or they are taking a diuretic.
  • Feeling more tired than is normal for them at their current age.
  • Weight loss. But bear in mind weight loss is unusual in type 2 diabetes which usually occurs in people who are overweight.
  • Genital itching or Thrush
  • Skin infections such as boils, abscesses, sore feet and legs
  • Cuts and wounds taking longer than normal to heal
  • Experiencing blurred vision

None of these signs on their own indicate diabetes but the combination of two or more suggest further investigation is necessary. Type 1 diabetes can develop quickly over a short period of days or weeks. Because early symptoms are general, people can have type 2 for years without being aware of it.

What to do

Arrange a visit to their GP as soon as possible. Having the symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean the person has diabetes. The Doctor will diagnose by checking a urine sample and arranging a blood test to check blood sugar levels. He will then prescribe any necessary medications and advise on diet and exercise to manage the condition. He will also arrange regular blood tests to make sure blood glucose levels stay balanced.

For further information about Diabetes visit the Diabetes UK website

Leymar Healthcare provide Homecare Services in Ashfield and 24 Hour Live in Care in the UK to vulnerable adults in their community. Please contact our office on 01623 360 193 or email us at

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