Living with diabetes is not easy. There are plenty of lifestyle changes one has to be accustomed to – regular appointments, keeping a check on your blood sugar levels, eating out of your preference and maintaining a daily exercise regime are just a few ways to manage the condition.

It is really likely that finding about your new life with a chronic disease can become overwhelming and would require a team of helping hands. While healthcare professionals including therapists might offer invaluable service, friends, family or loved ones would also be required to step up and pay equal attention to keep the affected person.

They not only need to extend moral and emotional support but also play a crucial role in making sure the diagnosed person leads a healthy lifestyle and keeps their condition under control. 

 

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Coping up with the diagnosis

If you are someone who’s loved one has recently been diagnosed with diabetes, it can be a confusing time for you as well. But what is important is that you take charge and instead of letting the disease get the better of you, learn to come to terms with it. Diabetes is an incurable condition but can be managed with the right nutrition and exercise tips. However, before you try to help the affected person, it is important that you get acquainted with what having diabetes means.

The more common type of diabetes is Type 2 diabetes where the way that the body processes blood sugar, also called glucose is affected. Glucose is the main source of energy that your body derives from the food you eat.

Insulin, a hormone released by the pancreas, helps the glucose from the food get into the body cells to be used as energy. Having Type 2 diabetes means that insulin produced is not enough or processed well, leaving too much glucose in your blood and causing high blood sugar. Managing diabetes means keeping the blood sugar under control.

 

If you are taking care of someone with diabetes, here are a few tips that you can follow to help them see through this difficult change of lifestyle:

  • Know it all: Educate yourself about diabetes and your loved one’s condition. Diabetes affects individuals differently so you should get acquainted with how diabetes is affecting them in particular. Offer to join them for diabetes classes and appointments.Remember, it is a medical condition that requires one to pay attention to one’s daily life. Even though you think like you might know them and what’s best for them, abstain from offering unsolicited advice.
  • Encourage a dietary change: While diabetes can be managed with making changes in one’s diet, it is not as easy as it sounds. This is where you can offer help. Encourage your loved one to make healthy lifestyle changes. Meet with their dietician and learn about the best food strategies for their condition.It is obvious that if you continue to eat unhealthy food around them, it might make it much harder for them to follow their nutritious diet. Instead give up on junk food, sugary drinks and processed foods together and switch to vegetables, fibre-rich food like oatmeals, grains or other diabetes-friendly recipes.
  • Become their gym buddy: Reaching the ideal body weight and being active helps in lowering the blood sugar. However, including physical activity in your daily routine might be challenging.Become their gym buddy and hold each other accountable for physical work out every day. You may also choose an activity you both like to make it more fun or just enjoy a 30-minute walk every day.
  • Lookout for symptoms of low blood sugar: People having type 2 diabetes may experience a drop in blood sugar at times, causing moments of confusion, fatigue and weakness. It’s important to know if your loved one is at risk of drop in blood sugar.Learn about their symptoms and  how to treat them.If you notice a change in their demeanour, point it out and treat it immediately as they might be unable to do it themselves at the moment.
  • Patience & Positivity: Remember being both patient and positive can go a long way when you’re supporting someone who has a chronic disease. Learning about the condition, the complications that can arise can be overwhelming for the patient.Make sure you offer them positive support and skip the negative stories. Be patient if your loved one requires more time to do day to day activities as managing diabetes can be tough on them.

 

Your support and resilience can help your loved one sail through these testing times. Offer support and specific help but also know when to take a step back, when your help is refused. Let them know you’re there for them and remember to acknowledge your own restrictions as well. After all, you can only help your loved one if you keep yourself healthy and rested. 

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