Receiving a diabetes diagnosis and learning to manage the condition can be difficult. Handling it alone can be very tough, but there’s a great deal you can do to support your loved ones and help them keep their diabetes under control.
In fact, the level of support you offer your family member or friend with diabetes is one of the best predictors of how well he or she will be able to handle the diagnosis.
Try these strategies to maximize the level of support you provide:
- Learn about diabetes. Study up on the condition, its symptoms, and complications. Encourage your loved one to do the same.
- Know the symptoms. Learn to recognize the symptoms of both high and low blood sugar — not only can they cause cranky moods, but they can also be harmful. High blood sugar causes frequent urination, extreme thirst, blurry vision, and fatigue. Low blood sugar symptoms include fatigue, frequent yawning, an inability to think or speak clearly, loss of muscle coordination, sweating, seizures, twitching, feeling like they’ll pass out, becoming pale, and losing consciousness.
- Let your loved one know you understand what he or she is experiencing. But, be careful that you don’t enable them, letting them use their diagnosis as an excuse for not taking care of themselves.
- Make healthy food choices. Eat healthy meals together and avoid the foods your loved one shouldn’t eat. Choose foods low in fat, cholesterol, salt, and sugar. Opt for fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and fish.
- Walk, jog, bicycle, swim, or dance with your loved one to encourage the right level of physical activity.
If your loved one’s condition is complicated or advanced, you might need additional help. Be sure to provide him or her the right level of diabetes support. In those situations, consider an at-home nurse or rehabilitation program. Not only can these healthcare providers help monitor your loved one, but they can also answer questions about diabetes. In addition, they offer recovery services and can help manage wound dressings. With their assistance, you could be better positioned to offer much-needed emotional support.
Ultimately, if you’re part of your loved one’s diabetes support system, it’s important for you to listen to and identify the best ways to meet his or her needs. Make sure you maintain reasonable expectations about their abilities to control their blood glucose levels. There will be instances when their levels will change unexpectedly. Keep sugary candy on hand for instances when severe symptoms suddenly appear.
Overall, remember controlling blood glucose levels can be complex; you should avoid blaming your loved one if he or she struggles to control the condition. Contact the Amputation Prevention Centers of America for more information on how you can help your loved ones with diabetes support.