Family and friends play an important role in anyone's life. When it comes to supporting someone living with diabetes, your influence can have a positive impact on their overall treatment plan.
Show your support by learning about diabetes. Become familiar with their treatment plan which may include diet, exercise and medication, and get to know their healthcare team, which can include a doctor, Registered Dietitian (RD), Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE), and physical fitness expert. Knowing about diabetes, and the signs of low and high blood sugar, will help prepare you for challenges and obstacles they may face. You can also learn to test blood sugar and, if necessary, give insulin injections.
Scheduling or attending doctor visits is one way to show your support and allow you to stay on top of their treatment plan.
Regular physical activity is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Help your family member or friend find a physical activity they enjoy. You can even offer to exercise together. Be aware of signs and symptoms of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) when exercising with them, and learn how to raise low blood sugar if needed. You can raise blood sugar with something that contains glucose—an apple, juice, or pieces of hard candy. When you recognize the signs of low blood sugar, you can be prepared for it.
Your family member or friend should consult their healthcare team before starting any new physical activity.
A healthy diet plays a big role in diabetes management. Learn to prepare diabetes-conscious
meals, encourage healthy food choices, and be aware of the foods you choose to eat
Consider making meals together that work within their diet. To do this, you can
use our Diabetes Co-Stars Recipe
Spinner, which is a fun way to create an American Diabetes Association (ADA)-approved
meal. You can also look for an ADA cookbook online or at your local bookstore. When
you do, you'll quickly discover that diabetes-friendly recipes can be enjoyable
You can offer support to someone living with diabetes, even if you live far away. Ask about their treatment plan, and how they are doing on it. Encourage them to follow the exercise plan and healthy diet recommended by their doctor. Remember, the best support you can give is being there to listen. Allow them to talk about their experiences living with diabetes and try to understand their day-to-day needs.
If you’re close to a co-worker with diabetes, be considerate and sensitive to his
or her needs. Start by becoming educated about diabetes to help you understand lifestyle
needs, obligations, and concerns. Be aware that treatment may involve insulin injections.
Well controlled blood sugar is a top priority for people with diabetes. Foods that
are high in sugars and carbohydrates may affect blood sugar levels. Remember this
when office parties occur. Consider bringing in treats that are diabetes friendly.
Some options may include sugar-free treats or low-carb fruits such as watermelon
There are many important people that may be part of a healthcare team, and each
of them has a unique role in diabetes management.
A primary care physician can set up a treatment plan to help their patient achieve
blood sugar control. A doctor may recommend diet and exercise routines, and prescribe
medications. It is important to have regular checkups with a doctor
to track progress. Sometimes an endocrinologist, a specialist with training in diabetes,
can work with their patient to come up with an individualized treatment plan.
Certified Diabetes Educator
A Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) can be a doctor, nurse, dietitian, psychologist,
exercise expert, or pharmacist who is trained to care for people with diabetes.
A CDE can help create meal and physical activity plans, and can help a person living
with diabetes monitor their success with medicines prescribed by the doctor to see
how well they are working. Take advantage of FREE online education sessions by clicking the link below.
A Registered Dietitian (RD) can do a lot more than help create a diabetes meal plan.
They can explain how to read food labels, make food substitutions, find good cookbooks,
and stick to a meal plan even while traveling or at restaurants.
Physical Activity Expert
A person trained in physical activity physiology can create an easy-to-follow physical
activity program that works with the doctor’s exercise recommendations.