November is American Diabetes Month, and that means it’s time to show your loved ones who have been affected by the disease that you’re there for them. Diabetes can be exhausting, stressful and isolating. Here are a few ways you can make it clear that they have you to lean on when they need to.
Sometimes the best way to support someone you care about is to offer assistance and see what they need. Every person’s situation is different, and what would help one individual might not be the best for another. Make an offer of support, and ask what you can do. When you go from there, they’re sure to know you have their back.
It can be easy to fall into nagging patterns with people you love, especially when you want what’s best for them and are frustrated when they don’t follow your advice to the letter. Sometimes part of offering support is being there for them, even when they’re not perfect.
There are a lot of myths surrounding diabetes: for instance, that exercise is dangerous or that someone with diabetes should never eat sweets. By informing yourself and others about some of the most common myths, you can help increase understanding of the disease.
Understanding diabetes goes deeper than just picking apart some myths. You can also support your loved ones living with diabetes by learning more about the condition, some of their concerns, and how to address them. Start with online resources like the American Diabetes Association, Mayo Clinic and the CDC to read up on the basics. You could also open up a conversation with your own healthcare provider to learn more from a professional.
Low blood sugar can manifest itself in a number of ways. You might notice symptoms of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) like pale skin, shakiness, sweating or irritability. Other symptoms like seizures and loss of consciousness may follow if the low blood sugar worsens. Sometimes, diabetes itself has no symptoms, requiring blood work to detect at all. Or it may look like thirst, hunger, frequent urination, blurred vision and fatigue, for either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.
Having an accountability buddy for healthy eating and exercise can help a lot when someone is dealing with diabetes. When part of managing symptoms involves being active and eating right, signing on to go the distance with them may be the push they need to maintain their health for the long haul.
Diabetes doesn’t just have a physical impact. It can have a mental one as well. Nervousness, trouble concentrating, difficulty sleeping, lack of energy and even guilt can all signal depression that may go along with a diabetes diagnosis. Being a listening ear may help, or you may want to encourage them to seek professional therapy or counseling if their mental health is suffering.
For more information on illnesses like diabetes, whether for yourself or as support for a loved one, CHP is here to offer a helping hand. Reach out to your nearest affordable health care clinic to make an appointment or ask more questions.