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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

Diabetic Shock and Insulin Reactions

Severe hypoglycemia, or diabetic shock, is a serious health risk for anyone with diabetes. Also called insulin reaction, as a consequence of too much insulin, it can occur anytime there is an imbalance between the insulin in your system, the amount of food you eat, or your level of physical activity. It can even happen while you are doing all you think you can do to manage your diabetes. The symptoms of diabetic shock may seem mild at first. But they should not be ignored. If it isn't treated quickly,...

Read the Diabetic Shock and Insulin Reactions 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

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

Check Your Blood Sugar Level Now
What type of diabetes do you have?
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Answer:
Low
0-69
Normal
70-130
High
131+

Your level is currently

If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

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