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Helping A Loved One With Diabetes

7 Ways You Can Help Someone Living With Type 2 Diabetes

7 Ways You Can Help Someone Living With Type 2 Diabetes

Approximately 29 million Americans live with diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Type 2 diabetes is the most common, making up about 90 to 95 percent of all cases. So chances are, you know at least one person living with this disease. Type 2 diabetes is very different from type 1 diabetes. A person diagnosed with type 1 doesn't make any insulin, whereas people living with type 2 are insulin resistant, which can lead to a reduction in insulin production over time. In other words, their body doesn't use insulin properly and also may not make enough insulin, so it’s harder for them to maintain a normal blood sugar level. Type 2 diabetes often has no symptoms, though some people experience symptoms such as including increased thirst, hunger, and urination, fatigue, blurry vision, and frequent infections. But the good news is that the disease is controllable. If you know someone living with type 2 diabetes, you may be concerned about their health and well-being. This is a chronic illness requiring lifelong maintenance. You can’t remove the disease, but you can offer support, comfort, and kindness in a number of ways. 1. Don’t nag! Needless to say, you want your loved one to stay healthy and avoid diabetes complications. The risk of type 2 diabetes complications increases when blood glucose levels aren’t properly managed over long periods of time. Complications can include heart attack, stroke, nerve damage, kidney damage, and eye damage. It’s frustrating when a person with diabetes makes unhealthy choices, but there’s a thin line between providing ongoing support and nagging. If you start lecturing or acting like the diabetes police, your loved one may shut down and refuse your help. 2. Encourage healthy eating Some people Continue reading >>

Non-diabetic’s Guide To Helping Loved Ones With Diabetes

Non-diabetic’s Guide To Helping Loved Ones With Diabetes

Whether you’re a brother, mother, aunt, boyfriend, wife or best friend, knowing how to support the people in your life who live with diabetes isn’t all that easy. In fact, it can be very tricky. Mostly, because: We all have different needs when it comes to the kind of support we want in diabetes. You, as the person who loves us, really want to make sure we’re safe and healthy, and sometimes that might come off as overbearing or controlling or nosey…but really, you just really love us. We don’t always behave the most wonderfully when we’re having a high blood sugar or a low blood sugar. And while we can’t always control that behavior, it does make communication a lot harder for you, the person who loves us. To help you be the best support system you can possibly be for the person in your life with diabetes, here are a few tips (and in video form here): Ask us what we need. Personally, I don’t need someone to remind me to check my blood sugar or help me count my carbohydrates. That would irritate me. On the other hand, it is incredibly helpful when my boyfriend reminds me to take my Lantus before bed, and I sincerely appreciate when he asks me what my blood sugar is after I check. To me, that’s great support. I want him to know what my blood sugar is so he can be aware of how my mental state is. For others, those things might drive them nuts. Giving us support we don’t want isn’t going to help; in fact, it might lead us to blocking you out of our diabetes management altogether. Let us tell you, in our own words, how you can support us. Please don’t lecture us. Telling an adult with diabetes what we should or should not be doing is only appropriate when we’ve asked for your insight. Telling us that we shouldn’t be eating that or shouldn’t be d Continue reading >>

How To Help Care For Your Loved One With Diabetes

How To Help Care For Your Loved One With Diabetes

How to Help Care for Your Loved One With Diabetes You don't mean to be part of the "diabetes police," of courseyou just want to help. But assisting others in taking good care of their health can cause distress in even the most loving relationships. Policing someone else's health often causes relationship problems, although love and concern may be at the heart of the matter. It's a recurring theme in the diabetes community's websites, blogs, message boards, and support groups. The Behavioral Diabetes Institute (BDI) is a nonprofit organization that works to address the emotional needs of people with diabetes to help them maintain good physical health. It has a fact sheet, "Diabetes Etiquette for People Who DON'T Have Diabetes," addressing this topic. William Polonsky, PhD, CDE, chief executive officer of BDI, says the institute gets many e-mails concerning caregiving, from both people with diabetes and others who want to help them. There are a few steps you can take to make sure you're providing a support system, even when your loved one seems to be ignoring his or her self-care. 1. Make sure the person really needs help. You might think your loved one with diabetes could use a reminder to check blood glucose, for example, or should think twice about eating a particular food. But you don't necessarily live with diabetes; he or she does. "Oftentimes, caregivers . . . want to take care and take action when it actually may not be needed," Polonsky says. "There are way too many caregivers who get upset with their spouses or their teenagers: 'Johnny won't check his blood sugar!' But if his A1C is in a good place, then you're fine." Action item: Consider, with your loved one's permission, attending a doctor's appointment together. Hear from the professional whether or not you Continue reading >>

How To Support A Family Member With Type 1 Diabetes

How To Support A Family Member With Type 1 Diabetes

How to Support a Family Member with Type 1 Diabetes When your child or your brother, or your spouse has Type 1 diabetes, you sometimes feel like a waterboy on the sidelines of a big game, wanting to help (particularly when your team is in trouble) but unable to run on the field. But there are ways that you, as a family member or close friend to someone with living with T1D, can assist and really make a difference. Here are some ideas. Be an Exercise Buddy. For those of us with T1 just like anyone else developing and maintaining an exercise program can be a challenge over the long run. Even for seasoned athletes who love to be in motion, there are peaks and valleys, days (or weeks or months) when momentum flags and wed rather sleep in. For those times, having an exercise buddy can help. Knowing that someone is counting on us to be at the track, the pool, or the gym, gets us out the door. If you encourage us, during and after strenuous exercise, to check our BG levels, well love you all the more. Do the Work. The average person who doesnt have diabetes doesnt know the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 and probably doesnt care. Youre not average. As a family member of someone whos been diagnosed, you know the difference and possess a rudimentary knowledge of the condition and how your loved one manages it. But when someone you love is T1, a rudimentary knowledge is not enough. Get some books, or spend some quality time with Google. Become an expert. Your loved one already is. Learn the Language Type 1 diabetes is like a small country, with its own language and dialect. Learn it. Master the acronyms and terms that people with T1 use when talking about their condition. Then, when your loved one starts talking about her basal rate and her bolus and her A1Cs, you dont have Continue reading >>

Helping A Family Member Who Has Diabetes

Helping A Family Member Who Has Diabetes

It isn’t easy for people to hear that they have diabetes. Diabetes is a disease that cannot be cured. It has to be taken care of every day. People who have diabetes must make some important changes in their lives. To stay healthy, they have to learn how to monitor and control their blood sugar levels. People who don’t control their blood sugar levels can develop serious health problems, such as blindness, nerve damage, and kidney failure. But there are things you can do to help your loved one who has diabetes. How can I help my relative who has diabetes? First, learn all you can about diabetes. The more you know, the more you can help. Encourage your relative to learn about diabetes, also. Second, be sympathetic. It can be scary at first for people to find out they have diabetes. Your relative may be frustrated with the changes he or she has to make. Tell your relative that you understand how he or she feels. But don’t let your relative use these feelings as an excuse for not taking care of his or her diabetes. Path to improved health In addition to being emotionally supportive, you can also help your relative to make healthy changes. This will help your relative manage his or her diabetes. If you eat meals together, eat the same foods your relative eats. Avoid buying foods he or she isn’t supposed to eat. Healthy-eating rules are the same for everyone, including people who have diabetes. Eat foods that are low in fat, cholesterol, salt and added sugar. Choose a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and fish. Encourage exercise. You might even want to exercise together. Walking, jogging, bicycling, swimming, and dancing are all good activities that will help both of you get enough exercise. Your relative should talk to his or her doctor Continue reading >>

The Friends & Family Guide To Type 1 Diabetes

The Friends & Family Guide To Type 1 Diabetes

Maybe it’s the friend’s child next door or a member in the family who has Type 1 diabetes. Perhaps you’ll be in charge of care at some point or are simply interested in learning more about T1. Consider this guide to help you navigate Type 1 as a friend or family member. What is Type 1? Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that affects a person’s pancreas. The pancreas is responsible for producing insulin, a hormone people need to get energy from food. Our pancreas, for reasons that have not been identified, does not produce any insulin. As a result, we need to inject or continually infuse insulin through a pump and carefully balance our insulin doses with eating and daily activities. We must also regularly monitor our blood-sugar levels. Type 1 is a non-stop and 24/7 balancing act that we must maneuver every day. There is no way to prevent Type 1 and there is no cure (currently!). How do you manage it? We get by with a little help from our friends! These include our glucose meter, insulin, needles, and monitors. The glucose meter is a device that measures blood sugar. We use a device that pricks our finger and we put the blood sample onto a test strip. From there, the test strip is read by the meter and gives us a number on the meter screen. We can get insulin into our bodies through multiple daily injections or an insulin pump. Injections are delivered to our bodies through insulin pens and needles. There are two types of insulin that we use. Fast-acting insulin gives our bodies insulin right away and is taken with meals or to correct a high blood sugar. Fast-acting insulin is used multiple times a day, depending on when you eat. The other is long-acting insulin, which is given once a day. Long-acting insulin is a slow release insulin that is given to your Continue reading >>

How To Support A Loved One With Diabetes

How To Support A Loved One With Diabetes

Todays article is not for those of us who have diabetes, but for those of you who care about someone with diabetes. I wanted to write something for the families, friends, and caregivers, who often might find themselves unsure of how to support their friend or family member whos struggling with this disease. I wanted to give some advice on how to be truly helpful, and how to avoid some of the common (honest and well-intentioned) missteps that can drive those of us with diabetes a little nutty sometimes. Its not always easy to know what to do or what to say. Its often the case that the stress of having a loved one in trouble is worse than being in trouble yourself. The same is true sometimes with a chronic condition like diabetes. A partner, friend, or loved one can feel paralyzed, unsure what to say, wanting to help but not knowing enough to really know what to do; stuck watching everything unfold with no power to change it or help it. So, lets try to change that. Well start with a simple crash course on what exactly diabetes IS and IS NOT. a chronic disease that comes about because of a combination of genetics and circumstances a condition in which the body needs help metabolizing sugar that enters the blood due to a deficiency in the systems meant to get that sugar FROM the blood TO the cells that need it for energy. a manageable condition that requires discipline and focus from the person living with it a condition that requires the person with it to, as my mother used to say, manually take over functions within the body that are automatic and unnoticed by people without diabetes a term for several different conditions, including Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes , which, while sharing some common effects and symptoms, are often treated quite differently and requir Continue reading >>

Caring For Someone With Type 2 Diabetes.

Caring For Someone With Type 2 Diabetes.

How does your friend or family member feel about sharing personal information with you? Did you establish boundaries with each other? Have you discussed how your friend or loved one would like your help? Maybe it’s time to learn a little more about how both of you feel. Sometimes people find it hard to talk about their feelings. Ask the person you're caring for what you can share with others about his or her condition. After all, it's his or her diabetes. And ultimately, his or her decision. Think before you go public. Does the situation at hand really call for you making what may be a private matter public? When in doubt, hold off. Ask the person you’re caring for how he or she feels. That way, you may be able to avoid any misunderstandings. How does your friend or family member feel about sharing personal information with you? Did you establish boundaries with each other? Have you discussed how your friend or loved one would like your help? Maybe it’s time to learn a little more about how both of you feel. Take a back seat if possible. Try and let the person you're caring for handle things on his or her own. If he or she asks for your help, give your support. Respect for boundaries can go a long way in making a good working relationship between the 2 of you. Be aware of exceptions to these rules. Of course, there are times when it may make sense to skip this advice. For instance, if there is an emergency. What is the most considerate way to step in and help the person you care for? Are there more thoughtful ways for you to lend a hand? Ask what you can do to help. Don't assume you know. What you think the person you are caring for may need and what he or she actually needs may be very different things. Make it a joint effort. Join your friend or family member in Continue reading >>

Dos And Don'ts: Supporting Loved Ones With Diabetes

Dos And Don'ts: Supporting Loved Ones With Diabetes

Dos and Don'ts: Supporting Loved Ones With Diabetes Friends and family members living with diabetes need the right kind of support. Here's how you can offer help they'll really appreciate. Medically Reviewed by Farrokh Sohrabi, MD Sign Up for Our Living with Diabetes Newsletter Thanks for signing up! You might also like these other newsletters: Sign up for more FREE Everyday Health newsletters . Family and friends can be true life lines for people living with diabetes they can lend a helping hand or shoulder to lean on at just the right moment. Studies show that people are able to manage their diabetes better when they have support from loved ones. It helps them to know theyre not going through it alone. But it can be difficult for loved ones who want to offer diabetes support to know the difference between being helpful and being a nag. Theres often a very fine line between pushing and pestering, says Lawrence Perlmuter, PhD, a psychologist at the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in North Chicago. Taking an interest in your loved ones diabetes, whether type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes, is one thing; taking control is another. If youre constantly telling them what to do or repeatedly admonishing them, theyll see it as a challenge to their control, Perlmuter says. A take-charge attitude is rarely the kind of diabetes help your loved one is looking for. Here are some dos and donts for providing diabetes support that works for everyone. Donts When Youre Offering Diabetes Help Dont play doctor. Unless diabetes is your field, you shouldnt be giving medical advice, especially if its unsolicited. You may mean well, but many popular beliefs about diabetes are outdated, and you could be offering bad advice. Dont bring up other people you know. Maybe your g Continue reading >>

Experts Share Ways You Can Support Your Family Member With Diabetes

Experts Share Ways You Can Support Your Family Member With Diabetes

Living with diabetes not only changes the lives of the people who have diabetes but also those who are around them. People with diabetes have to constantly monitor every action: what they eat, how much they eat, how much exercise they get, when and how many times to check their blood sugar levels. We understand how tiring all that may be to do on your own. This is why, it is important to have the support of those around you. Without the support of your loved ones, you may not hold yourself as accountable as they may for not taking good care of yourself. While it is the goal of your family members to give you as much support as they can, they might not exactly know how to do so. If you are a family member who wants to support their loved one who has diabetes, you will find this article extremely important and helpful. We have gathered responses from experts on how they think you can help your loved one on their journey with diabetes. Please keep reading to find out how you can lend your support in small or big ways. 1. Tony A. Gaskins Jr. As the son of two diabetic parents, I understand what it’s like to love someone who is struggling with an issue that seems to be bigger than you. Is love enough to inspire someone to live a healthy lifestyle? I believe you have as good of a chance as anything else. First, you can’t be an enabler. Although there may be some things your love one likes to eat and it seems so pleasurable for them, you can’t trade momentary pleasure for long-term health. You have to speak up and be a voice to encourage them to eat healthy and to stay inbounds with their food choices. Secondly, you have to inspire with love not with condemnation. Don’t try to make them feel guilty. Instead inspire them with love and hope for the future. Express to the Continue reading >>

12 Do’s And Don’ts For Supporting A Loved One With Diabetes

12 Do’s And Don’ts For Supporting A Loved One With Diabetes

Managing diabetes is hard. It takes constant work to stay on top of, and even the smallest food choices can throw off one’s blood sugar. It can make life difficult not only for those dealing with diabetes, but also for the family members and friends who are trying to support them. The good news is that those with diabetes are usually able to better manage their disease with the support of loved ones. But do family and friends always know the best ways to offer help? Here are 12 do’s and don’ts for supporting a loved one with diabetes. If you’re looking to help someone with the condition, use these tips to offer the right kind of assistance. 12. Do: Recognize It’s Difficult The first step toward helping those with diabetes can be acknowledging that managing the disease isn’t easy. It’s difficult and tricky — sometimes blood sugar seems to spike randomly. Let your loved one with diabetes know that you recognize the hard work they are doing in dealing with it. 11. Don’t: Be the Diabetes Police Nobody wants someone constantly looking over their shoulder. While it’s OK for family members to be concerned about their loved one’s choices, they shouldn’t go so far as being a nag and policing that person’s lifestyle. It’s hard enough living with diabetes; don’t make your loved one feel like they’re also breaking the law. 10. Do: Educate Yourself One of the biggest ways friends and family can help a loved one with diabetes is to learn more about the disease. Managing diabetes is much more complicated than counting carbs and keeping blood sugar low. The more you know, the greater the likelihood you’ll be able to help your loved one when they need it most. 9. Don’t: Play Doctor Your loved one knows who their medical practitioners are, and they don Continue reading >>

Supporting Someone With Diabetes

Supporting Someone With Diabetes

Helping someone with diabetes may often just involve being a good listener If you're the friend, relative or partner of someone with diabetes, you may wish to know what you can do to help support them. How you can best help is likely to vary depending on how your friend, relative or partner views their own diabetes. If your friend, relative or partner is motivated and reasonably well controlled it is likely theyll be receptive to new ideas and viewpoints. However, note that they may resist advice if they think youre trying to take away their control. With so much to take into account with controlling diabetes, it is quite likely your friend, relative or partner may want to talk about what they have learned lately. You may think theyre a bit obsessed but accept that needing to talk about their diabetes is a by product of their hard work in managing their diabetes . If its starting to get overbearing, let them know but try not to appear dismissive. Keep an interest in your friend, relative or partners diabetes. Should anything go wrong with their diabetes or a related area of their health, youll want your partner to feel they can discuss it with you. If your friend, relative or partner lacks motivation in controlling diabetes or struggles with controlling it, it can help to offer support in a way that helps your partner to feel in control. It may help to hear how your friend, relative or partner views his/her diabetes. Let your friend, relative or partner speak and try not to offer advice or solutions at this stage unless you can tell your partner is actively receptive to new ideas. Your friend, relative or partner may even need a bit of a rant and then a good nights sleep before being able to start looking for solutions. It can be helpful to know which areas of their di Continue reading >>

Tips For Helping A Person With Diabetes

Tips For Helping A Person With Diabetes

Get a print subscription to Reader's Digest and instantly enjoy free digital access on any device. Diabetes is tough. When you have diabetes, you need to eat healthy food, stay active, control your weight, take your medicine, and check your blood glucose (sugar) to see how you are doing. And thats on top of handling all the other things in life! No wonder a person with diabetes can feel stressed out and afraid and even depressed! You want the best for your loved ones with diabetes whether they are family members or friends. Maybe you are looking for ways to ease the pressure your mother feels. Or maybe you would like to help your husband take better control of his diabetes. Its a hard disease to handle alone. You can make a big difference in how well your loved one copes with diabetes. Use these tips to get started today. 1. Learn about diabetes. There is a lot to learn about living well with diabetes. Treatment is changing and we are learning more every day. You can use what you learn to help your loved one. Ask the doctor or nurse how you can learn more. 2. Understand your loved ones diabetes. Each persons experience with diabetes is different. What things are hard for your friend to manage? What things are easy? 3. Find out what your loved one needs. Try asking these three questions. What do I do that helps you with your diabetes? What do I do that makes it harder for you to manage your diabetes? What can I do to help you more than I do now? 4. Talk about your feelings. Diabetes affects you, too. Telling your loved one how you feel can help both of you. 5. Offer practical help. Instead of nagging, find ways to be helpful. Ask what would help your loved one most. Offer to go to the doctor with your father or mother. Cook a tasty and healthy meal for a friend. 6. Try Continue reading >>

Managing Diabetes

Managing Diabetes

You can manage your diabetes and live a long and healthy life by taking care of yourself each day. Diabetes can affect almost every part of your body. Therefore, you will need to manage your blood glucose levels, also called blood sugar. Managing your blood glucose, as well as your blood pressure and cholesterol, can help prevent the health problems that can occur when you have diabetes. How can I manage my diabetes? With the help of your health care team, you can create a diabetes self-care plan to manage your diabetes. Your self-care plan may include these steps: Ways to manage your diabetes Manage your diabetes ABCs Knowing your diabetes ABCs will help you manage your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Stopping smoking if you smoke will also help you manage your diabetes. Working toward your ABC goals can help lower your chances of having a heart attack, stroke, or other diabetes problems. A for the A1C test The A1C test shows your average blood glucose level over the past 3 months. The A1C goal for many people with diabetes is below 7 percent. Ask your health care team what your goal should be. B for Blood pressure The blood pressure goal for most people with diabetes is below 140/90 mm Hg. Ask what your goal should be. C for Cholesterol You have two kinds of cholesterol in your blood: LDL and HDL. LDL or “bad” cholesterol can build up and clog your blood vessels. Too much bad cholesterol can cause a heart attack or stroke. HDL or “good” cholesterol helps remove the “bad” cholesterol from your blood vessels. Ask your health care team what your cholesterol numbers should be. If you are over 40 years of age, you may need to take a statin drug for heart health. S for Stop smoking Not smoking is especially important for people with diabetes beca Continue reading >>

The Dos And Don’ts Of Supporting Someone With Diabetes

The Dos And Don’ts Of Supporting Someone With Diabetes

This story was originally posted on April 13, 2015. Living with diabetes can be hard. Really hard. The constant blood monitoring, thinking about every morsel of food you put in your mouth, trying to avoid scary, life threatening complications. The stress can be exhausting. Then, just as you’re having an amazing day—your blood sugars have been nice and steady, you did an awesome job at work, you ate a super heathy lunch—you have to explain yourself. Someone sees your pump. You excuse yourself to bolus and someone spots a needle. You refuse the sugar-laden donuts in the break room. And you have to say it. “I have diabetes.” Cue the insensitive responses: “Do you have type 2 or the bad kind?” “It’ll go away if you just lose the weight.” “So does that mean you can’t eat cake?” “Diabetes isn’t that hard, you just have to be on a special diet, right?” “Your diabetes must be getting worse because you take insulin.” “You brought this on yourself.” “Since you take insulin, does that mean you’re type 1?” “You’re not fat, you can’t have diabetes.” And the best of all… “But you don’t look sick.” You wince. Perhaps you’ve heard it before, or maybe this is a new, creative dig at your illness. In a perfect world everyone would be educated about diabetes, but right now that just isn’t the case. Too many stereotypes and myths exist today that perpetuate misconceptions about both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. John Zrebiec, L.I.C.S.W., Chief of the Behavioral Health Unit at Joslin Diabetes Center, is no stranger to oblivious or downright rude comments aimed at those with diabetes. He suggests that if someone says something insensitive or just plain wrong to you, take the high road. Educate them on what it’s really like to l Continue reading >>

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