Counseling Patients About Complications of Diabetes

W. Steven Pray, PhD, RPh, Joshua J. Pray, PharmD Candidate

In This Article


The World Health Organization has stated that diabetes mellitus is at an epidemic level.[1] To be diagnosed with diabetes mellitus is to enter a realm where everyday aspects of life are altered. The patient who has type 1 diabetes mellitus must adhere to rigid dietary advice, be physically active, and take great care in administration of medication. The patient who has type 2 diabetes mellitus is urged strongly to follow similar lifestyle protocols. Failure to observe medical advice opens patients who have diabetes to the possibility of devastating and irreversible damage to several tissues and organ systems, greatly increasing the risk of death or lifelong disability.

Counseling diabetic patients about complications consists partly of providing information about their increased risk of morbidity and premature death. The pharmacist should stress that proper control of the condition can lower these risks. Counseling can also include helpful steps in dealing with the various complications, such as techniques to prevent foot damage and periodontitis.