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How to Help a Family Member with Diabetes

Although diabetes is a relatively common disease that affects many people around the world, it is still often misunderstood, mismanaged, and difficult to cope with. Those who suffer from either type 1 or type 2 diabetes can benefit greatly from the support of their friends and family. If you have someone in your life who has been diagnosed with diabetes, you may feel at a loss as to what you can do to make their life easier. Here are a few ways you can help to take the pressure off of a loved one experiencing the struggles of diabetes.

Learn More About the Disease

One of the best ways you can help your diabetic loved one is to do as much research as you can about their disease. If they are young, they might not be aware of all the details of their diagnosis and treatment and so, if you are their parent or caregiver, it would be useful for you to attend medical appointments with them to gain as much information from the doctor as possible. Of course, this depends entirely upon your relationship with the individual and whether or not they feel that your presence during medical appointments would be beneficial. If you can, read more about the disease and how it works. The more you know, the more helpful you can be.

Understand Their Unique Experience

Not everyone will experience diabetes in the same way. Even within the two main types of diabetes, there are a variety of ways that each individual will view their condition and how they approach treatment. While researching the type of diabetes they have can be incredibly useful, it is also important to listen to them and try to understand their unique perspective. For some, diabetes might be just another part of their daily life. For others, however, it could feel like more of a struggle. Let your loved one express their feelings about having diabetes on their own terms and in their own time.

Encourage Healthy Habits

A proactive approach to helping a loved one with diabetes is to encourage a lifestyle that will ultimately help to ease the pressures of the disease. For example, find out which foods they should avoid and which they should eat more of. Remind them to use their blood glucose monitoring system to make sure they remain within a safe range. Offer to participate in exercise with them, such as swimming or running. Having someone else to encourage their healthy lifestyle will make it much easier and more appealing.

Know What to Do in Emergencies

Diabetes can be difficult to manage, and in some cases, an emergency situation may arise. Depending on the type of diabetes your loved one has, there are several possibilities of how it can go wrong. An example of this is hypoglycemia, where the blood sugar drops below safe levels. Learn what you can do to help in this situation so you and your loved one feel well-prepared.

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