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How To Help Someone With Diabetes

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 >>

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 >>

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 >>

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 >>

My Friend Has Diabetes. How Can I Help?

My Friend Has Diabetes. How Can I Help?

KidsHealth / For Teens / My Friend Has Diabetes. How Can I Help? Diabetes. Sure, you've heard of it. But how much do you really know about what it's like to live with it? Teens with diabetes often say they feel isolated and alone. After all, it's hard enough being a teenager with all the body changes and hormone surges dealing day-to-day with a health problem like diabetes can only make things harder. Having to test your blood sugar several times a day, keep tabs on what you eat, and give yourself insulin shots or other medicine is enough to make anyone feel self-conscious and different. As a result, some people may want to pretend that their diabetes doesn't exist. That's not a good plan, because it usually leads to poorly controlled diabetes. And that can be dangerous to your friend's health. As a friend, your understanding and acceptance are very important. The more you know about diabetes, the less self-conscious and alone your friend is likely to feel. And that's good for anyone's health! Diabetes is a disease that affects how the body uses glucose. When you eat, glucose from the food gets into your bloodstream. Then, the pancreas makes a hormone called insulin that helps the glucose in the blood get into the body's cells, where it's used as fuel. When people get diabetes, the glucose in their blood doesn't get into the cells as well as it should, so it stays in the blood instead. This makes blood sugar levels get too high and can lead to symptoms like getting very thirsty or peeing a lot. Proper treatment of diabetes helps to control these symptoms. It also can help prevent long-term effects like kidney, eye, nerve, or heart problems that can happen in people who havehigh blood sugar levelsfor many years. The two main types of diabetes that can occur during child Continue reading >>

Helping A Loved One With Diabetes

Helping A Loved One With Diabetes

Diabetes can be a demanding disease to manage. People who have the condition must constantly watch what they eat, check their blood sugar levels regularly, and take medication to keep those levels steady. If you’re close to someone who has diabetes, there are ways you can help. Learn about the disease. There are lots of myths and wrong ideas about diabetes. For example, it’s not true that a major sweet tooth can lead to the condition, or that it’s unsafe for people who have it to exercise. Learn how diabetes works, how to prevent emergencies or complications, and other information so you can be useful. Maybe ask your loved one if you can tag along to a doctor’s appointment. Make it a team effort. A diabetes diagnosis is a chance for the whole household to start some healthy habits. Get everyone to get onboard with nutritious meals, quitting smoking, and staying active. Know when to step back. Remember that the person who has diabetes is responsible for managing it, not you. Don’t second-guess the care plan or try to police meals or snacks. Living with diabetes is hard work, and encouragement and support are better than unwanted advice or, worse, scolding. Help ease stress. Too much stress can raise blood sugar levels and make it harder to control diabetes. But managing the condition can be stressful. Encourage your loved one to talk about feelings and frustrations. Try things together like meditating, walking, gardening, or watching a funny movie. Expect mood swings. Swings in blood sugar can make someone jittery, confused, anxious, or irritable. Better blood sugar control can help avoid these ups and downs. Offer emotional support, and encourage your loved one to join a support group or talk about professional counseling if you think that might help. Talk ope 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 >>

For Family & Carers

For Family & Carers

The experience of caring for someone with diabetes is different for everyone. Caring for someone with diabetes can put strain on family and relationships. Its important to view diabetes as a manageable condition a person lives with. Living with diabetes requires daily care and attention but it shouldnt take over a persons life. Although there are important guidelines about meal plans, insulin intake, and exercise and so on, they must always be balanced against the first-hand knowledge you both accumulate from living with diabetes each day. Use whatever experiences you can gather from your loved one with diabetes, doctors, friends and literature. Nothing replaces experience. It arms you with methods for handling the complexities of diabetes management and teaches you to watch for the subtle changes in the way symptoms develop. Build trust not dependence. While you are there to support your loved one both physically and emotionally, it is important that they maintain their independence. Know your personal limits and have a plan in place to hand over to others when it is needed. You must look after yourself. What kind of support can you provide if you end up sick? Know that no one can understand diabetes better than those who live with it every day. Above all, remember you are the second most important person in the diabetes team. To find out more information about family and carer support in your state, contact your local diabetes organisation. Influenza, and it's potential complications, can be very serious for people living with diabetes. People living with diabetes are three times more likely to be hospitalised from the flu and three times more likely to die from the flu and its complications. What can you do to help your family member with diabetes? Before this flu s 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 >>

Diabetes Etiquette: How To Talk To Someone With Diabetes

Diabetes Etiquette: How To Talk To Someone With Diabetes

When you live with a chronic illness like diabetes, living life sometimes can seem hard . The constant monitoring of your blood sugar, weighing and counting all your food can seem time consuming and overwhelming. Not to mention the constant worry about complications lingering in the back of your mind. The stress alone of living with diabetes can be exhausting. Then you have this amazing day where everything seems to be going your way. Your blood sugars have been steady all day and youre about to sit down for a lunch out in public and someone sees your insulin pump . Or you excuse yourself to go give an injection and someone sees your syringe. Or maybe you refuse the office birthday cake and say No Thank you, I have diabetes. Before we continue with this article, I wanted to let you know we have researched and compiled science-backed ways to stick to your diet and reverse your diabetes. Want to check out our insights? Download our free PDF Guide Power Foods to Eat here. From here you can cue the typical responses: Youre not fat, you dont have diabetes Oh, its just diabetes, at least its not cancer Youll be fine you just need to lose weight Youve probably heard these all before or it might be new to you, either way it wont be the first time you hear phrases like these when someone hears about you having diabetes. In a more perfect world, everyone would know everything there is to know about diabetes, but unfortunately that isnt the case in our world. There are too many different stereotypes that exist when it comes to diabetes . Most of which perpetuate the myths between type 1 and type 2 . This article isnt about how to handle these comments, people with diabetes are very strong and have thick skin. These are the types of things we get used to. This article is for those 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 >>

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 >>

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 >>

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 >>

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