Negligent Treatment of Diabetes
Diabetes mellitus, or diabetes, is a group of diseases characterized by high blood sugar. This can be the result of inadequate insulin production from the pancreas or a lack of bodily response to insulin that is produced. The American Diabetes Association states that approximately 25 million Americans suffered from diabetes in 2011. If improperly treated or untreated, diabetes can turn fatal.
Negligent Treatment Outcomes
If improperly treated, diabetes sufferers can face many long-term complications. These complications become most evident 10 to 20 years after the onset of diabetes. In 2007, the American Diabetes Association reported that diabetes contributed to more than 200,000 deaths in the United States. Diabetes is also the leading cause of new blindness among 20 to 74-year-old adults.
Health complications due to negligent or inadequate diabetes treatment include:
- Kidney failure
- Renal failure
- Limb amputation
- Diabetic foot ulcers
- Cardiovascular disease
Risks to a fetus from negligent or inadequate gestational diabetes treatment may involve:
- Macrosomia, or high birth weight
- Skeletal muscle malformations
- Respiratory distress syndrome
- Congenital cardiac anomalies
- Congenital central nervous system anomalies
Types of Diabetes
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is caused by the body’s inability to produce insulin. Type 1 diabetes sufferers typically require insulin injections or an insulin pump to ensure adequate insulin levels. There are currently no known preventative measures against type 1 diabetes. Most people with the disease have a healthy weight with no major health conditions. It is often referred to as “juvenile diabetes” as it is commonly seen in children.
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is the most common type if diabetes. It is characterized by the resistance to insulin by liver, fat, and muscle cells. The body’s cells cannot properly utilize insulin, which results in hyperglycemia, orthe excessive buildup of sugar in the blood. A majority of type 2 diabetes cases occur in overweight people. The more body fat present, the harder it is for insulin to be used correctly.
This type of diabetes occurs in pregnant women who did not have a previous diabetic condition. It occurs in roughly 2% to 5% of pregnancies and typically resolves itself after pregnancy. However, in 20% 50% of cases, it is a precursor to type 2 diabetes. Gestational diabetes should be carefully monitored throughout a pregnancy, as improperly treated or untreated conditions can have damaging effects on both the mother and fetus.
Treatment of Diabetes
While diabetes is a chronic disease which usually cannot be cured, health complications can be greatly reduced with strict maintenance. It is recommended to keep blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible while avoiding hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. This is typically achieved through customized exercise, a special diabetic diet, and appropriate medications. In type 2 diabetes, weight reduction is implemented if needed.
Diabetes treatment may vary with each patient and should be based on several factors, including:
- Coexisting conditions, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol
- The degree to which different medications will alter blood sugar levels
- Contraindications and adverse effects that each treatment option may have
- Issues that may affect therapy compliance, such as timing, frequency, and dosage
- Cost of treatment to the patient as well as the health care system