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Diabetes Health Center

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When Someone You Love Has Diabetes

You can do a lot to support your friend or relative as they manage their diabetes.

Encourage them. It’s hard to have a serious medical condition.

Recommended Related to Diabetes

Diabetes Symptoms to Never Ignore

One of the keys to leading a healthy life with diabetes is to keep your glucose levels, or blood sugar, in check. As your main source of energy, glucose plays a big role in keeping your body working like it should. If you have either type of diabetes, you need to be aware of symptoms that may mean your glucose is out of balance. If your blood sugar is too low:

Read the Diabetes Symptoms to Never Ignore article > >

You’ll also want to learn the symptoms of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and high blood sugar (hyperglycemia), and what to do about them.

If you're the main caregiver for someone with diabetes, you can do even more:

  • Remind them to check their blood sugar levels on time.
  • Help to make and get to doctor appointments.
  • Offer to keep a record of their symptoms or other concerns, and agree to help them talk about it with their doctor.
  • Together, plan how to handle a diabetes-related emergency or complications.
  • Support them in making good food choices, and prepare healthy food together.
  • Go with them to a diabetes support group.

Help Manage Medications

People with diabetes need to take their medicines as prescribed. Sometimes, they may need a little help with that.

Make sure the person is able to give themselves the medication. Can they open the cap on the pill bottle or give themselves insulin? Do they keep all their diabetes supplies in a convenient place?

If your loved one takes pills, capsules, or tablets, use a pill calendar. This plastic container has days of the week listed and is divided into parts of the day. You can get one at most larger pharmacies. Fill the pill calendar once a week or once a month, as needed. Check it regularly to see if they missed any doses.

It could be that your friend or relative doesn’t see well, and can’t read the prescription bottle. Make an appointment with an eye doctor called an ophthalmologist to get their vision checked.

Get Support

Take care of yourself, too. If caregiving starts to become stressful, it helps to talk with someone you trust, whether it’s a friend, relative, or counselor. You may also want to join a support group.

To find one, ask your loved one’s doctor, or check with a local hospital or the American Diabetes Association.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Michael Dansinger, MD on February 12, 2015

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