Though more than 30 million people across the U.S. currently suffer from diabetes, taboos still linger. It's important to seek out resources and information to help you offer better diabetes support to friends and family.
Studies have found that strong home foundations lead to more success managing the disease with diet and medication. Diabetes support systems can also help alleviate physical, mental, and emotional discomfort for patients.
Do you know someone who's working to manage diabetes? Here are tips on how to provide solid diabetes support to friends, family, or anyone with the disease.
1. Seek Diabetes Support Resources
Take the time to get to know diabetes, how your friend or family member might experience diabetes symptoms, and what diet and lifestyle changes are necessary for diabetes treatment.
In addition to daily changes, learn about the specific drugs used to manage each individual case of diabetes. When diabetes drugs are introduced to the daily regimen, possibly in combination with other medications, it may cause diabetes drug side effects, such as amputation and ketoacidosis. Side effects are another burden, and they can be severe.
2. Be Patient When Glucose Levels Are Unstable
When blood sugar drops, people with diabetes begin to experience a slew of uncomfortable symptoms. The Diabetes Council stated: “Low blood sugar levels can cause confusion and anxiety, while high blood sugar levels can cause increased fatigue, concentration issues, and even may lead to periods of depression.”
Keep an eye out for symptoms of low blood sugar. Familiarize yourself with the foods that are safe for diabetics, and the foods that aren't. If you think something seems off, take a moment to assess the situation and help carry out the steps needed to get blood sugar back to a healthy level.
3. Encourage Open Dialogue
Communication may help you offer more personalized diabetes support. According to researchers, it turns out talking about your feelings can actually help fight diabetes. Studies show it can help reduce diabetes-related distress and promote "psychological well-being, health-related quality of life, and general self-care.”
Once you gauge how comfortable your friend or family member is discussing their diabetes, ask if you could accompany them to a medical appointment, or offer to help them shop for diabetes-appropriate foods and plan healthy meals.
4. Help With Diabetes Burnout
Type 2 diabetes is incurable, and continued assistance may be required due to diabetes burnout, which occurs when the patient grows tired of managing their condition. As well as extending kindness to the patient, remind them to be kind to themselves.
A diabetes patient named Sarah Kaye told On Track Diabetes, “I firmly believe that diabetes burnout is much like the saying, ‘Depression is not a sign of weakness; it's a sign of being strong for too long.’”