The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that around 29 million Americans have diabetes, and 90-95% of those people have Type 2 diabetes. While a person with Type 1 diabetes does not produce any insulin, the body of a person with Type 2 does not manage the insulin properly, so they cannot maintain a normal level of blood sugar. This can cause fatigue, blurred vision, excessive thirst, hunger, and a frequent need to urinate. There is no cure for diabetes, but with the right lifestyle and medication, the condition can be managed and its impact minimized.
If you are close to someone who is living with Type 2 diabetes, here are six tips to help you support them.
1. Offer support, not criticism
It can be difficult to watch someone that you care about make choices that are not in their best interests, e.g., no managing their blood sugar levels for a long period of time, but ultimately, they are in control of their own life. Remember that nagging at them or criticizing their lifestyle is unlikely to encourage them to change and will probably just drive a wedge in your relationship.
2. Eat healthier foods with them
One of the most effective ways to manage diabetes is to eat a healthier diet, but for someone who has only recently been diagnosed, this can be difficult. To help them, you could research and cook healthier meals together, attend cooking classes, and try not to make unhealthy choices around them. You can find some diabetes-friendly recipes at tasteofhome.com.
3. Exercise with them
It is important to include physical activity as part of a healthy lifestyle as it can help to reduce blood glucose, prevent heart disease and cancer, reduce stress, and help them to maintain a healthy weight. Exercising with another person is not only more fun but also makes it more likely that they will continue to stick to the routine. Try to incorporate around 30 minutes of light to medium exercise on at least four days of the week.
4. Help them to get organized
Managing diabetes often requires medication and related supplies as well as regular medical checkups. This can be overwhelming to manage, especially in the early days after diagnosis, so a bit of support could be very helpful. You may be able to help them to order diabetes supplies from Byram Healthcare or mark their appointments on your calendar so you can remind them.
5. Offer to attend checkups with them
Sometimes it can be helpful to have someone else in the room when they attend their checkups, especially if you can take notes so they can focus on asking the right questions. You could also use these appointments to ask the doctor about how you can provide the best support and learn more about the disease. There are also diabetes support groups that they may want to attend, and you could go along too for moral support.
6. Look out for signs of low blood sugar
When a person with Type 2 diabetes’ blood sugar level drops, they may not realize that they are in danger as it can cause fatigue, confusion, and weakness. If you notice that their behavior has changed, ask them to check their blood sugar levels and make sure you know what to do if their blood sugar drops so low that they are unable to help themselves.