When someone you care about has diabetes, your support can help them better manage their condition and lead a good quality of life. Receiving a diabetes diagnosis can shake up anyone’s reality. Living well with diabetes requires making lifestyle adjustments and adopting healthy habits — and those things are easier with the support of family and friends.
Forming a partnership with a health care provider is the first step in managing diabetes. Internal medicine specialist Dr. Samuel Fink provides comprehensive care for a full range of conditions, including diabetes. Here, we describe how you can best support a loved one on their path to living well with diabetes.
Understand what your loved one is facing
An estimated 34 million Americans are living with diabetes. While there’s no cure, people with diabetes can live full, healthy lives with proper care. Your loved one must take steps to manage their diabetes each day. This becomes part of their everyday life.
To stay healthy, your loved one must make some important changes to their lifestyle. To control their blood sugar, they must work closely with their health care provider to maintain target blood sugar levels.
This means reading food labels, becoming familiar with the carbohydrate content of foods, controlling their carbohydrate intake, and making healthy food choices. Along with this, people with diabetes stay healthy by getting enough exercise, steering clear of smoking, avoiding excess alcohol, and having other healthy habits.
In some cases, your loved one may be taking medications to lower blood sugar or may need insulin.
Support healthy habits
Most people with diabetes have Type 2. Healthy lifestyle changes are the cornerstone of managing Type 2 diabetes.
Supporting your loved one in adopting healthy habits is one of the best ways you can help your loved one manage their condition. Some ways you do this include:
- Exercising with your loved one
- Suggesting healthy recipes
- Cooking with your loved one
- Helping your loved one replace less healthy social habits like drinking
- Engaging in stress-busting activities like yoga
- Providing encouragement and emotional support
The more you know about living with diabetes, the more you can support your loved one.
Learn to recognize signs of trouble
People with diabetes must watch out for high and low blood sugar. High blood sugar may strike if your loved one eats too much or is under stress. Signs of high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) include:
- Excessive thirst
- Frequent urination
- Blurry vision
Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) can strike when your loved one skips a meal, takes too much insulin, or exercises vigorously. Warning signs of low blood sugar are:
- Feeling weak
- Having trouble thinking clearly
- Feeling tired
Alerting your loved one when you notice signs of high or low blood sugar can help them better manage their diabetes.
Living well with diabetes takes time
A diabetes diagnosis requires some adjustment, so have patience and provide your loved one with support along the way. It’s important to recognize that your loved one will have good and stressful days managing their condition. Continued support can keep them on track.
When it comes to diabetes, your loved one doesn’t have to go it alone. Your encouragement and the guidance of a health care professional can make a significant difference.
To learn more about how you can support a loved one with diabetes and for all of your primary care needs, call our Tarzana, California, office to schedule a visit, or request an appointment online.