How to Help a Diabetic: What Are The Best Ways To Help Loved Ones With Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is manageable, but it’s still a life-long illness. Individuals with diabetes can better manage their illness on a day-to-day and long-term basis when they have a strong support network around them. Friends, family, coworkers, and partners can all contribute to a person’s wellbeing. This article will cover some of the best and most useful ways you can help your loved ones with type 2 diabetes. You might be wondering how to care for someone with diabetes, or how your family can help them cope. Follow these to improve the diabetes care you provide for you or your loved ones.

What are the ways you can help others living with Type 2 Diabetes?

Keeping your high blood sugar levels balanced while having diabetes is no easy challenge. It requires significant lifestyle changes, from the things you eat to your daily exercise requirements. This can be incredibly taxing on your loved one, especially if they are new to being with someone that has diabetes. So, what can you do to help your loved ones cope with your condition?

Living with diabetes comes with its own unique set of limitations. There will be certain activities they can no longer do, like all-nighter movie marathons and dessert buffets, which are no longer healthy or realistic. Activities may need to be re-evaluated and adjusted to a level where the person with diabetes can be comfortable and enjoy doing the things they love most.

The best way to understand and support your loved ones with diabetes is to understand the illness itself. Browse diabetic blogs, watch YouTube videos, read books and magazines, and educate yourself on diabetes. Remember, type 2 diabetes is a common condition where your body struggles to regulate its blood sugar level. Anyone can develop type 2 diabetes, you do not need to be born with it. That’s why it’s key to understand how to manage it.

Live a Healthy Lifestyle

Living a healthy lifestyle is not just for people with diabetes. You shouldn’t wait for a life-changing diagnosis to make positive changes in your life. We all have opportunities to make healthy lifestyle choices, such as:

  • Cycling to the corner store rather than driving;
  • Staying active while listening to music and media;
  • Going for a short walk as a brain break;
  • Taking the stairs instead of the elevator;
  • Avoiding high-sugar and high-carb foods or eating modified versions like gluten-free, sugar-free cupcakes, and other healthy options.

Healthy lifestyle choices improve both you and your partner’s health, regardless of a diabetes diagnosis, and it is a very important factor to ensuring that even if you have diabetes, you can still thrive and live life the way you want to. The key takeaway here? Find creative ways to incorporate exercise into your daily routine. Small changes can make a significant impact over time.

Connect With Other Diabetics

Support groups are a great way to manage diabetic lifestyles and to learn about supporting someone with diabetes. Like how some people join running groups or book clubs, diabetic support groups ensure that diabetics in the community receive the support they need. Plus, joining a support group will allow you to learn new tips that you can use to further support your loved one.

Diabetes care can be challenging at times, and it can be difficult navigating all the different changes that you need to go through. However, with a strong support group, you and your loved ones can thrive with this life-altering illness. We suggest joining our Winning Type 2 Diabetes Together community to better understand the challenges and limitations your loved one may be experiencing. If you can, consider joining your loved ones at their support groups. Knowing that you are right there beside them, along with others in their community, can go a long way to strengthening your relationships, as well as communal bonds.

Have an Emergency Action Plan

Preventive measures are an essential aspect of diabetes care. Still, high blood sugar spikes or low blood sugar will happen, and you need to be prepared to help your partner. You should always have an emergency plan in place to help your partner with health issues, like blood sugar crashes, impaired judgment, weakness, and tiredness. It’s important to know what symptoms your loved one displays and how to treat them. Type 2 diabetes is manageable if you plan. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Have your urgent care center on speed dial, as well as their family doctor, in case they injure themselves or if there is an emergency. 
  • Learn the signs of a sugar spike or low blood sugar crash signs to quickly identify what is going on, and how you can help.
  • Carry some glucose sugar tablets in case your partner needs to use them. Alternatively, orange juice is a good item to have on hand for sugar crashes.
  • Learn how to perform blood glucose readings

Practice Open Communication

By now, you know how challenging living with diabetes is. One of the best ways to support your loved one is to openly communicate. Express your feelings to eliminate any uncertainty. For example, if you don’t understand why your loved one is acting a certain way, tell them. You might say, “I don’t know why you are frustrated right now, but I would like to better understand so I can help you.”

The daily challenges diabetic faces are normal to them. They may even assume you already understand what’s happening. This can quickly create tension and frustration in any relationship. Keep the lines of communication open, be direct with each other, and do your best to support them when they are having a tough day.

In most cases, diabetes is a manageable illness. Having a diabetic crash is typically avoidable, but you can help your partner prevent high or low blood sugar levels by monitoring their progress, managing their diet, and living a healthy lifestyle. A diabetes diagnosis doesn’t mean you and your partner can’t live a long and healthy life. Your partner can even eat dessert every once in a while, depending on their diet and how well you manage your blood sugar. 

You want to do everything you can to support and help your loved one. So when you see them struggling, it may seem easy to point out the obvious. It could be something as simple as mentioning their recent weight gain. Although simple, small criticisms can compound, making your loved one feel anxious, stressed, depressed, and a variety of other feelings. Do your best to encourage and support them. But be mindful not to “coach” them. The key is to support them when they need it, not lecture them. If they feel like you’re talking to them, they will be less receptive to your advice and support.

You also need to be aware of how you call out your partner’s condition in social settings. Your partner likely doesn’t want their condition to be their defining characteristic. Avoid calling out their diabetes in social settings as this may make them feel different than everyone else. What about medication reminders? These are important. Life is busy, and it can be easy for your loved ones to forget to take their medications. Do your best to provide helpful reminders without seeming overbearing and controlling.

What do you do when someone is having a diabetic attack?

Diabetes is a complex condition that needs to be taken seriously. Diabetes symptoms can rapidly and unexpectedly escalate into an emergency. Knowing the signs and symptoms of an emergency, as well as what to do if one occurs, is critical.

How do you make a diabetic feel better?

Depending on the cause of the diabetic attack you can help a person experiencing it by following the steps below:

  • If a diabetic loses consciousness, try to revive him or her and call for help. While you're waiting for aid, keep an eye on their respiration, pulse, and whether or not they're responding to you. Open their airway, monitor their respiration, and prepare to start CPR if they become unresponsive at any stage.
  • Determine whether their blood sugar is high (hyperglycemia) or low (hypoglycemia).

What is the fastest way to bring down blood sugar in case of hyperglycemia?

  • Help the patient with insulin administration. Do not administer it for them; but, if required, assist them.
  • Seek medical assistance.
  • Give them non-sugar liquids to drink. The best option is to drink water.

What is the fastest way to bring down blood sugar in case of hypoglycemia?

  • Help the patient to sit down.
  • If they have their own glucose gel or glucose tablets, help them take it.
  • If not, you need to give them something sugary, such as a glass of fruit juice.

What does a diabetic attack feel like?

Symptoms of diabetic attack can feel like:

  • Confusion;
  • Change in senses, experiencing blurred vision, headaches, and dizziness. Sweating, tingling, numbness;
  • Foot pain;
  • Sudden hunger, unusual thirst;
  • The convulsion that may lead to coma;
  • Blood sugar level read higher;
  • Chest pain, an irregular heart rate that could signal a potential heart attack.

Diabetes and Your Relationship: It is All About the Support

You can’t do everything on your own, and your loved one doesn’t have to manage their diabetes care alone. Don’t be afraid to turn to family members, friends, coworkers, and fellow diabetics to ask questions and get help.  The tips discussed in this article are only the tip of the iceberg. If you’re looking for more information, consider joining our Winning Type 2 Diabetes Together community to connect with other diabetics, share stories, and learn interesting tips and tricks.