Showing Support for Diabetes Patients
How You Can Support Someone with Diabetes
Getting diagnosed with diabetes may feel like a huge betrayal from the universe. It’s scary and can feel isolating. If you know anybody who is suffering from diabetes or has been diagnosed as pre-diabetic, know that they need your support now more than ever.
Whether it’s a family member living with diabetes or a close friend, be there for them however you can.
1. Understanding diabetes
The first thing you can do to help is to know diabetes facts and statistics, how its treated, and what food they can eat.
Diabetes is a chronic (lifelong) disease that is caused by excess sugar (glucose) in the body. Usually, the insulin produced by our pancreas is enough to convert the sugar into energy but with diabetics, the insulin produced may not be enough, or the body has gotten immune to it. In the case of type 1 diabetes patients, there isn’t even any insulin produced.
If you know anyone diagnosed with diabetes, you first need to know which type they have. There is a big difference between type 1 vs. type 2 diabetes. Type 1 or insulin dependent diabetes occurs when a person does not produce any insulin. Those with type 1 diabetes get diagnosed with it typically in childhood. Type 2 diabetes, or non-insulin dependent diabetes, is diabetes caused by excess glucose in the body. This can either be hereditary or due to lifestyle choices. The third type, gestational diabetes, is a form of type 2 diabetes and occurs during pregnancy.
2. Listen to them
Each person is unique so they will have different needs and responses to their condition. Actively listen to them and be open about what kind of help they need. Some may want constant companionship while others may not be as open about their condition. Just let them know you’re there for them no matter what and above all, don’t judge them.
3. Know what low blood sugar looks like
It can be confusing but having low blood sugar is actually bad for diabetics. A diabetic’s blood glucose levels need to be in a certain level. If it drops too much because of the insulin they take or their medications, they go into what is called hypoglycemia and it could be fatal.
Keep an eye out for signs of fatigue, shakiness, paleness, excessive sweating, light headedness, anxiety, irritability, or hunger. If you notice any of these, remind or encourage the person to test their blood sugar if they are able to at the moment. If not, offer them something to boost their blood sugar level like juice, bread, or fruit.
4. Give them options
Getting diagnosed with diabetes can already feel isolating, the last thing they need is for their loved ones to actually exclude them from social gatherings. While it is harder to eat when you have diabetes, it’s obviously not impossible. Be mindful of the things you serve when you’re at a party or the restaurants you invite them out to. Make sure there’s a good mix of vegetables, fruits, and lean protein. Don’t be afraid of carbohydrates or desserts as well. When it comes to diabetes, it's all about moderation, so they’ll be happy to have that option, too.
5. Remind them to take care of themselves
Getting diagnosed with diabetes is physically, emotionally, and financially difficult for the patient. Help them get the best care they can while easing the financial burden diabetes brings by encouraging them to invest in a health care plan that provides comprehensive diabetes coverage like She Cares by Sheroes. She Cares by Sheroes provides patients with a flexible 3-in-1 solution that addresses the health, protection, and investment needs of a modern Filipina.
Dealing with someone who is diabetic can also be nerve-wracking and difficult. At the end of the day, just do your best to be there as much as you can for them. Take your cue from your loved one and ask them for what kind of help they would like. With so much change going on around them, your constant presence will be very much welcomed in their life.
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