Worldwide, many people suffer from diabetes. It’s a chronic illness where one’s body doesn’t produce enough insulin or can’t use it as well as it should. When this happens, too much blood sugar stays in the bloodstream, which could lead to serious health problems like heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease. To prevent these complications, individuals living with the condition need to be mindful of their diet, monitor their blood sugar levels, and take medications.
Since it’s an illness that requires lifelong maintenance, people with diabetes often need the support of their loved ones to stay healthy and keep their blood sugar levels steady. If you’re living with someone who has the disease, there are ways you can help. Here are tips four tips for caring for a family member with diabetes.
Help Manage Their Medication
Just like any person with diabetes, your loved one may need to take several different medications to keep their blood sugar levels stable. And it’s important to take these medications as their doctors prescribed them in terms of dosage and time of day. That said, one way to care for your relative is to make sure they always take their medications on time.
If they’re taking certain pills, tablets, or capsules, it’s a good idea to store their daily dose in a pill calendar. It’s a plastic container labeled with the days of the week and divisions indicating the parts of the day like morning, afternoon, or night. Remember to help your loved one fill the pill calendar every week or month. Also, make sure they have ample supplies of their medicines. If they run out, order their medicine from a reputable online drugstore and get it delivered right away so your loved one won’t miss any doses.
Encourage Eating Healthy
Another way individuals manage their diabetes is by making healthier lifestyle choices, including changes in their diet. Those with diabetes need to watch what they eat and be aware of how often they must eat to keep their blood sugar levels steady. For some people, this can be challenging to do. To help your loved one to ease into the dietary changes, consider doing these changes with them.
If you’re in the same household as your loved one with diabetes, start by removing foods high in saturated fats, cholesterol, sodium, and trans fats in your pantry and fridge. These are typically found in junk foods and processed meat. Also, avoid bringing home foods high in sugar and carbs like cakes, pastries, and soda to help control their blood sugar. Instead, encourage them to eat healthily by opting for colorful fruits and vegetables as well as adding more fiber-rich foods like whole grains, dried fruits, apples, broccoli, and avocados in their meals.
Make the diet change a bonding experience by grocery shopping and cooking diabetic-friendly recipes together. Doing so won’t just support your loved one manage their disease, you’ll also get the benefit of improving your health.
Aside from following a healthy diet, it’s good for your loved one to have a regular and robust exercise routine. Staying active and managing their weight can help lower the blood glucose in their body. But like eating healthy, exercising regularly can be just as challenging. If you want to make it easier for your loved one to stick to a fitness routine, consider being their workout buddy. The routine doesn’t have to be long or too hard. Exercising at least four times a week for a 30-minute workout session would make a huge difference in their health.
When exercising, it’s important to pick a kind of workout you both enjoy doing. It will help you stick with it and won’t feel like it’s a tedious chore. Some of your options include walking, biking, jogging, jumping ropes, or practicing yoga. More importantly, exercising together benefits you and your loved one. You’ll increase your energy, manage stress, and lower the risk of developing illnesses like heart disease and cancer.
Understand How Diabetes Works
Learning as much as you could about the disease is also a great way to care for your family member with diabetes. Begin with researching how the illness works and how to prevent complications. It’s also a good idea to read up about hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) along with their symptoms. Both issues can be very harmful to your loved one and can lead to serious medical problems if left untreated.
For example, hypoglycemia’s common symptoms include headaches, hunger, dizziness, weakness, confusion, and pale skin. If left untreated, your loved one can pass out or have a seizure. In severe cases of hypoglycemia, a person can get into a coma. On the other hand, the common signs of a person having high blood sugar include experiencing headaches, frequent urination, extreme thirst, weight loss, and blurred vision. If hyperglycemia isn’t treated immediately, it can lead to damaging the vessels that supply blood to vital organs. This potentially puts your loved one at an increased risk of stroke, vision problems, nerve problems, and kidney disease.
That said, it’s best to understand the difference between hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia so you can identify if your loved one experiences any of the symptoms and get them immediate medical help.
Caring for your family member with diabetes doesn’t have to involve complicated routines or practices. You can begin with the tips discussed here and research more information. It’s also a good idea to talk to your loved one’s doctor and find out more ways how you can properly care for someone who has the condition. This way, you can help them manage their illness and have a healthy happy life.