Applying Holistic Learning to the Management of Diabetes

Introduction

Diabetes is an issue f major health concern across the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) describes diabetes as one of the modern-day epidemics. This categorization is informed by the fact that the disease currently affects a sizeable portion of the population all over the world. It is estimated that within the next twenty years one in every ten world inhabitants will be suffering from diabetes. There are two types of diabetes Type 1 and Type 2 with the latter accounting for about ninety percent of all recorded cases. The gravity of the diabetes epidemic has necessitated the exploration of new ways of preventing and managing the disease. Consequently, stakeholders have put in place various measures of preventing diabetes. Holistic learning introduces an unconventional method of combating the diabetes menace. Most experts are of the view that “preventing and reducing the severity of complications is the key to improving patients’ quality of life” (Ryden 3040). A holistic learning approach is one of the least explored methods of tackling diabetes in modern times. This paper explores how holistic learning can help in the process of managing diabetes.

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Pertinent Issues in the Management of Diabetes

One of the most prominent issues in the management of diabetes is that the disease has evolutionary characteristics. Consequently, the initial management practices when dealing with the condition keep changing from time to time. This challenge incorporates a vital aspect of holistic learning. For instance, diabetes is associated with various other conditions such as obesity, lifestyle habits, and high blood pressure. All these conditions require an all-around knowledge that is common under holistic learning (Yang 242). On other occasions, the full understanding of diabetes is also associated with other established health conditions such as cancer and heart disease. The varied aspects of diabetes make holistic learning compatible with the prevention and management of the condition.

Diabetes can also be associated with immobility as a result of long-term organ damage. For instance, “diabetes has been observed to cause eye damage (retinopathy) leading to potential blindness, kidney damage (nephropathy) with a risk of progression to renal failure requiring dialysis and kidney transplantation, and nerve damage (neuropathy) with a risk of foot ulcers and amputation” (Danaei 36). The presence of complications in the management of diabetes increases the cost of treatment significantly. Furthermore, the complications that are characteristic of diabetes increase the intensity of care among diabetic patients. Diabetes is also associated with a high rate of mortality and this necessitates the employment of all possible methods of tackling the condition.

Holistic learning is important in diabetes management because it can be directly connected to patient care. Diabetes is a complex condition and it has far-reaching impacts on an individual’s quality of life. Therefore, the ability to prevent the disease during its onset or in its early stages has a significant effect on the management of the disease. On the other hand, research has indicated that diabetes is a condition that is most effectively addressed at the community level. Holistic learning incorporates all avenues of information gathering and this approach is quite adequate for educating communities. Through holistic learning, patients can be able to monitor fluctuations in their health and make necessary changes in their diet and lifestyles. When dealing with diabetes, “patient care is divided between specialists and general practitioners, or family physicians (not to mention diabetes nurses and other healthcare professionals such as pharmacists and dieticians, when they are available)” (Danaei 38). Each of these health care specialists takes up a special role in the prevention and management of diabetes. A holistic approach to the management of diabetes would ensure that professionals are able to carry out their respective duties depending on the resources that are available to them. Around the world, various healthcare systems are at different stages of development. This means that the prevention of diabetes cannot be carried out in a similar manner across different regions and demographics.

The various issues that are specific to the care of diabetic patients have made it necessary for stakeholders to adopt a ‘network of care’ methodology. The ‘network of care’ methodology makes it necessary for individuals to engage in a holistic approach in the prevention and management of diabetes. In most scenarios, a healthcare practitioner has to work in partnership with the patient and his/her caretakers/family. This partnership is quite common in scenarios where a holistic learning approach is adopted. It is important to note that the effectiveness of this model of management and prevention is subject to various barriers. For example, in most scenarios, both healthcare professionals and community-based stakeholders tend to operate on different levels. Bringing the two sides of the divide together can only happen where an environment of collaboration is harnessed. A holistic approach to tackling diabetes has the capacity to create a collaborative environment that can halt the advancement of diabetes.

Given the complexities that underline the management of diabetes, governments and other stakeholders have tried their best to incorporate all available resources for combating the condition. Healthcare systems are under immense pressure to come up with universally effective methods of managing and checking the prevalence of diabetes. The involvement of public faculties is pertinent to the achievement of this ultimate goal. A viable model of diabetes prevention has to incorporate a health care system that is aimed at producing the best diabetes management results and a high level of voluntary patient involvement. Hence, there is a need to utilize a diverse model of diabetes prevention.

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According to one Diabetes Awareness Program, “people living with diabetes should be empowered to enhance their personal control over the day-to-day management of their condition in a way that enables them to experience the best quality of life” (Ryden 3042). However, the current external environment makes it hard for stakeholders to institute highly efficient diabetes prevention and management models. The prevention and management of diabetes are also characterized by various unmet needs and unclear policies. This challenge makes it hard for any organization to undertake clear diabetes prevention measures. Some of the factors that make holistic learning a viable approach when tackling diabetes include the fact that “over 50% of diabetes cases around the world are undiagnosed” (Danaei 31). Furthermore, not all of the diagnosed individuals are actively pursuing adequate treatment methods. It has been noted that accurate diagnoses of diabetes can take over seven years. All these complexities can be eased through the holistic learning approach when dealing with diabetes. The healthcare fraternity and the respective community can easily be brought together through a holistic approach to the prevention of diabetes.

Holistic Learning and Diabetes Management

Holistic learning has the ability to introduce new visions in the management of diabetes. This section of the paper discusses three areas where holistic learning can be applied with the view of meeting diabetes prevention goals. The first area involves instituting measures of diabetes prevention and management that go beyond the conventional medical methods. The other area involves using holistic learning to ensure that patients are actively involved in the management of diabetes. The third area aims to apply holistic learning to the long-term prevention and management of diabetes. All these three areas have the capacity to address the ‘unmet needs in the prevention and control of diabetes. The three outlined approaches rely on various policies for them to be effective. It is important to note that individuals, medical professionals, and policymakers are all required to participate in the ‘holistic’ management of diabetes. Another ultimate goal in the holistic prevention of diabetes is to ensure that management of the condition goes outside the scope of glucose control.

Applying Holistic Learning to come up with Non-Glucose/Non-Technical Treatments of Diabetes

Control and management of diabetes using methods that surpass glucose control is one of the easiest applications of holistic learning. An ordinary prevention environment mostly relies on glycaemic control methods in diabetes management. However, holistic learning can facilitate diversity beyond glycaemic control of diabetes. When pursuing non-glucose control methods, other health conditions have to be considered. For instance, management of other conditions that contribute towards the development of diabetes is necessary. Consequently, holistic learning can be applied in the management of “preventable risk factors as part of the overall preventive approach to cardiovascular disease (CVD) and other non-communicable diseases (NCDS)” (Bleakley 150). Another approach that can be employed in this area of prevention is embracing a delicate balance between prevention and treatment. Using this last approach would ensure that the processes of prevention and treatment happen concurrently.

Holistic learning involves encompassing several models with the aim of producing a viable end result. Managing diabetes without necessarily relying on glucose prevention is a strand of holistic learning. For instance, there are “significant gaps in our knowledge as to how to prevent and treat the complications arising from diabetes…efforts must be targeted at the prevention and management of complications from the onset” (Glanz, Rimer, and Viswanath 98). This concern necessitates the application of holistic learning in the prevention and management of diabetes. Although blood glucose control is one of the time-tested approaches in the management of diabetes, a holistic learning approach dictates that this method should be backed up by other evidence-based approaches. Effective application of holistic learning in the quest to seek substitutes for glucose control has the capacity to achieve various positive developments. First, the approach will help combat the advancement of other ailments. In addition, the efforts to compliment glucose-control treatments will end up serving more individuals.

Holistic Learning and Patient-Centered Methods of Diabetes Control

People who suffer from diabetes go beyond the normal description of ‘patients’ because on most occasions they are individuals who are conducting their day-to-day activities whilst managing their condition. The description of ‘people living with diabetes is more accurate when it is analyzed from a holistic perspective. Most diabetic individuals have to live with a condition that is often life-long. Consequently, the management of this condition revolves around a patient who has to marshal all the technical and non-technical resources that are available to him/her. Holistic learning can be utilized to ensure that there exists a purposeful connection between the patient, the family, and the healthcare professionals (Bleakley 155). Through the application of the holistic learning theory, a fruitful dialogue that aims to produce prevention and treatment of diabetes can be coerced.

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Suffering from diabetes changes several aspects of the patient’s life. An individual who suffers from diabetes has to contend with living with a ‘disease that is not likely to be healed completely. The chronic condition pushes individuals to develop strong ties with both healthcare professionals and other avenues of support. Holistic learning can help patients to manage their condition by harnessing their avenues of support. Furthermore, holistic learning can also enable affected individuals to seek information that can enrich their avenues of support. For example, individuals who take care of diabetic patients are party to information concerning diabetes. Access to information through a holistic process ensures that diabetes is treated as well as prevented. For example, a person who is taking care of a diabetic patient can come across information that might help him/her to avoid the condition. Good communication and integrated care are essential components of diabetes management. These two aspects are also synonymous with holistic learning. Holistic learning has the capacity to allow individuals to consider the prevention and management of diabetes as a dynamic process that revolves around the needs of the patient and the consequent importance of intervention (Shrivastava and Ramasamy 1).

Holistic Learning and Long-Term Diabetes Management

Previously, diabetes was mostly known to affect the elderly. However, the demographics that are affected by diabetes have been changing constantly. This latest development raises the issue of diversity in the management of diabetes. Research has also indicated that “diabetes is more prevalent amongst certain ethnic groups and this raises issues such as their attitudes to diet and exercise” (Satterfield 2644). For diabetes prevention and management to be effective, they must target the appropriate demographics. This consideration is well taken care of under practices that embrace holistic approaches. A holistic approach can easily take care of all demographics that are affected by diabetes.

Holistic approaches also ensure that long-term diabetes management is tackled as a dynamic global issue. Most societies are in the process of merging during the 21st century. Consequently, there is a need to harmonize the quality of care across various social groups. This goal is being hampered by various problems including lack of adequate data. Holistic learning can solve the problem of lack of data if it is employed in the long-term management of diabetes. Using authoritative data can on the other hand create standard clinical practices when managing diabetes. High-quality diabetes care is yet to be achieved throughout most regions around the world.

Conclusion

The overall management and prevention of diabetes can be enhanced through the implementation of holistic learning. The condition has various issues that challenge the validity of the current prevention methods. A holistic learning approach is set to reduce instances of diabetes whilst improving the quality of life of patients and the overall productivity of society. The holistic approach can be applied to three main areas of diabetes and prevention with the view of revitalizing the whole process. One of the key priorities in the prevention of diabetes is coming up with measures that go beyond clinical interventions.

Works Cited

Bleakley, Alan. “Broadening Conceptions of Learning in Medical Education: The Message from Team Working.” Medical Education 40.2 (2006): 150-157. Print.

Danaei, Goodarz. “National, Regional, and Global Trends in Fasting Plasma Glucose And Diabetes Prevalence since 1980: Systematic Analysis of Health Examination Surveys and Epidemiological Studies with 370 country-years and 2· 7 million participants.” The Lancet 378.9785 (2011): 31-40. Print.

Glanz, Karen, Barbara Rimer, and Kasisomayajula Viswanath. Health Behavior and Health Education: Theory, Research, And Practice, New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2008. Print.

Ryden, Lars. “ESC Guidelines on Diabetes, Pre-Diabetes, And Cardiovascular Diseases Developed In Collaboration with the EASD.” European Heart Journal 34.39 (2013): 3035-3087. Print.

Satterfield, Dawn. “Community-based Lifestyle Interventions to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes.” Diabetes Care 26.9 (2003): 2643-2652. Print.

Shrivastava, RamBihariLal, and Jegadeesh Ramasamy. “Role of Self-Care in Management of Diabetes Mellitus.” Journal of Diabetes and Metabolic Disorders 12.1 (2013): 1-2. Print.

Yang, Baiyin. “Holistic Learning Theory and Implications for Human Resource Development.” Advances in Developing Human Resources 6.2 (2004): 241-262. Print.

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