4 Tips for Caring for a Family Member with Diabetes | Southstar Drug

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Old couple

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.

Exercise Together

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. 

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The Difference Between a Cold and Allergies and How to Treat Both

Jose Topacio

Woman having a cold

Because they’re both common afflictions and share plenty of symptoms, an allergy and a cold often get confused for one or the other. Fortunately, both are treatable at home. In fact, you can easily buy over-the-counter medicines from an online drugstore. However, you first have to know the difference between the two conditions so you know what kind of treatment you need.

Here are some things to keep in mind to help you identify and treat either or both an allergy and a cold:

What Is an Allergy?

An allergy is a condition in which the immune system overreacts to fight or get rid of something that isn’t really bad for the body. For example, pollen from plants and flowers isn’t really harmful. However, if you’re allergic to it, your immune system interprets pollen as an invader and releases histamine to protect the body.

Histamine is an organic compound produced mostly by white blood cells, particularly basophils and mast cells. It’s necessary for various physiological processes but, unfortunately, also causes plenty of symptoms associated with allergies like itching and sneezing.

What Is a Cold?

A cold is a contagious respiratory illness caused by more than 200 types of viruses. Most people will have about 2 to 3 colds per year; children may experience even more. Usually, you can get a cold by inhaling droplets in the air or by touching surfaces with viral droplets and then bringing your hand to your face, nose, or mouth. The latter is why one of the best ways to avoid a cold is to regularly wash your hands.

Some symptoms of a cold that are very much similar to an allergy include a runny or stuffy nose and sneezing.

What Is the Difference Between These Two Conditions?

One of the biggest differences between an allergy and a cold is that only one is contagious. An allergy is an immune response; it can be inherited from a parent, but it’s also possible for a child to develop an allergy even if their parent doesn’t. Meanwhile, because a cold is caused by a virus, it can be easily passed on to another person.

There are also a lot of differences when it comes to symptoms. For example, if your eyes are itchy and watery, you likely have an allergy and not a cold. On the other hand, a fever can sometimes accompany a cold but never an allergy (unless you also have an infection along with your allergy).

Additionally, if you have a sore throat and body aches, you most likely have a cold and not an allergy. You may also notice that the cooler months also bring about more cases of colds. This is because the viruses that cause colds linger in the air longer, so more people end up catching them. Meanwhile, allergies can happen at any time. As long as there’s a presence of an allergen, like pollen, pet dander, or mold, an allergy attack will usually follow.

Finally, a cold usually lasts for about 10 to 14 days while an allergy can disappear in just a few hours. As soon as the allergen is removed and the proper treatment is applied, allergy symptoms will fade. Do note that if your cold lasts for more than 14 days, it’s highly recommended to consult a doctor. It may not just be a cold you have, but rather another kind of infection. It’s also possible that you may develop complications due to a prolonged cold.

How Do You Treat an Allergy?

Treating an allergy requires two main actions: removing the allergens and addressing the symptoms. Common environmental allergens include dust, dust mites, pollen, animal dander, and mold.

To minimize exposure to environmental allergens, make sure to thoroughly clean and disinfect the objects and areas that you or any person with allergies stay in most frequently. Careful attention must be given to beddings, as these can harbor hundreds or even thousands of dust mites.

For those with food allergies, it’s better to eat meals that you prepared yourself. If you want to eat out, it’s helpful to have an allergy card with you; consider calling ahead, too, so that the staff is aware of your allergies and make accommodations.

Of course, you should always be prepared with your allergy medicine. There are a variety of antihistamines available, but your doctor may have a recommendation that’s most suited for your condition. For those with food allergies or with severe allergies, always keep your injectables with you wherever you go.

How Do You Treat a Cold?

The key thing to remember about a cold is that it’s viral. Thus, you cannot and should not treat it with antibiotics. What you can do is take medicine to manage the symptoms you have. If you have a blocked nose, take a decongestant. If you’re experiencing headaches, take a pain reliever. In the meantime, make sure to eat right and get some rest. The cold should go away in about a week or so, faster if your immune system is healthy.

It can be difficult to treat a condition if you don’t fully understand it. If you’re ever confused about an allergy and a cold, use this as a reference so you can address your condition accordingly.

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