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

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 Continue reading

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How a 504 Plan Benefits Parents and Students with Diabetes

How a 504 Plan Benefits Parents and Students with Diabetes

If your child has diabetes, you want him or her to be safe while in school and to have the same educational opportunities as other children. Implementing a “504 Plan” can help set your mind at ease on both accounts.
Section 504
The phrase “504 Plan” refers to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. This section prohibits discrimination against those with disabilities in all public and private schools that benefit from federal funding.
A 504 plan can also be set up under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which protects students with disabilities in all public and private schools, but not those governed by religious institutions. However, if the religious institution accepts federal funds, ADA rulings apply there as well.
An Ounce of Prevention
Every 504 plan should contain an assurance that there will be school staff members trained to recognize symptoms of hyper and hypoglycemia, and that they will respond to your child's need according to the directions set up in the student's Diabetes Medical Management Plan.
The American Diabetes Association has a downloadable Model 504 Plan for use or reference, and some school districts have developed their own 504 plan. Whatever template is used, your child’s plan will have to be adjusted to meet their specific needs. Because model plans are typically set up for children with type 1 diabetes, they need modification to benefit children with type 2 diabetes.
It is unwise to assume every school is prepared or equipped to care for students managing diabetes. Even if a school nurse is on staff, he or she may not al Continue reading

Outsmart Your Diabetes by Setting SMART Goals

Outsmart Your Diabetes by Setting SMART Goals

A diagnosis of diabetes usually comes with a list of recommended lifestyle changes. To make these diet and exercise changes a reality, consider turning them into SMART goals.
A goal gives you something to aim for. SMART goals tell you exactly where you are going, how and when you will get there, and why the effort is worth your while.
“If a man knows not to which port he sails, no wind is favorable,” wrote the philosopher Seneca. No doubt, Seneca would endorse the idea of SMART goals: those that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-oriented.
Specific. Goals should be written in simple, clear terms that define exactly what you are going to do. For example:
“I’m going to lose 12 pounds” (instead of “lose some weight”).
Measurable. Goals, and steps toward goals, need to be measurable so you know when you have completed one. For example: “I will walk for 20 minutes three mornings per week for two months; then 20 minutes five mornings per week.”
Attainable. Goals must be achievable; they should be challenging but within reach. For example:
“I will lose at least 2 lbs per month.”
Relevant. Goals are motivating when tied to something that you value. For example:
“I want to lose weight to manage my blood sugar and prevent health complications, and so I have more energy to play with the kids/grandkids.”
Time-oriented. Goals are most helpful when linked to a timeframe that creates a practical sense of urgency, otherwise known as a deadline. For example:
“I will lose 12 pounds by Oct. 1, six months from now and before my next Continue reading

Does Diabetes Cause Rashes?

Does Diabetes Cause Rashes?

There are a variety of rashes commonly experienced by those with diabetes. Some require treatment, and some disappear on their own.
There are many comorbidities to diabetes and skin issues are high on the list. Diabetes can cause nerve damage as well as impair blood flow to skin cells, which makes the skin more susceptible to damage, infection and changes in color.
Some Disorders are Considered Precursors to Diabetes
There are certain disorders considered to be precursors to diabetes. Believed to be the result of insulin resistance, Acanthosis nigricans is a skin disorder where there is darker, thick, velvety skin in body folds and creases. This is also typically found in people who are obese.
Another disorder is Eruptive xanthomatosis. The result of poorly controlled sugar levels and extremely high levels of triglycerides, this disorder manifests as firm, yellow, waxy-like eruptions surrounded by red halos. The bumps generally appear on the face, buttocks, backs of the arms and within creases of skin.
Disorders can Result from Impaired Blood Flow
Because diabetes causes inflammation and narrowing of the blood vessels, the small capillaries that nourish the skin with oxygenated blood and heal it with white blood cells can no longer supply sufficient quantities of either.
Diabetic dermopathy appears as shiny round patches on the lower shins. They don’t hurt and are generally benign. The condition is believed to result from impaired blood flow to the skin.
Necrobiosis lipoidica diabeticorum results from changes to the collagen and fatty tissue that support the skin. The ski Continue reading

Diabetes and Amputation: What You Need To Know

Diabetes and Amputation: What You Need To Know

Diabetes is associated with numerous health complications such as heart disease, eye conditions, and neuropathy. According to Diabetes Management, diabetic neuropathy is a leading cause of amputations in the U.S.
Diabetic neuropathy can affect any number of bodily functions. Nerve damage most commonly occurs in people who struggle to control their blood sugar, people with high blood pressure, overweight people, and people over the age of 40.
The most common area affected is the feet because the combination of poor circulation and nerve damage leaves the feet susceptible to ulcers that can cause significant damage to the surrounding tissues and bones. These nonhealing ulcers may require amputation of the affected area.
Reduce Your Risk
There are certain preventative measures you can take to reduce your risk of developing a severe foot ulcer that may need amputation:
Don’t smoke
Regulate blood sugar levels
Wear shoes that fit with clean, dry socks
Eat well and exercise regularly
Amputation and Recovery
Sometimes amputation is the only option for treating a severe foot ulcer. Surgeons will remove the damaged tissue while preserving the healthy surrounding tissue as much as possible.
The wound may take as long as eight weeks to heal, and many patients choose to engage in some sort of physical or occupational therapist as well as a mental health provider to begin to accept the life changes that accompany amputation.
Source: The Mayo Clinic, Diabetes Management
Type 2 diabetes is different from type 1 diabetes in many ways. As its alternate name of adult-onset diabetes implies, Continue reading

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