Type 2 Diabetes is the most common, making up about 90 to 95 percent of all cases. So chances are, you know at least one person living with this disease.
Type 2 diabetes is very different from type 1 Diabetes. A person diagnosed with type 1 doesn’t make any insulin, whereas people living with type 2 are insulin resistant, which can lead to a reduction in insulin production over time. In other words, their body doesn’t use insulin properly and also may not make enough insulin, so it’s harder for them to maintain a normal blood sugar level. Type 2 diabetes often has no symptoms, though some people experience symptoms such as including increased thirst, hunger, and urination, fatigue, blurry vision, and frequent infections. But the good news is that the disease is controllable.
If you know someone living with type 2 diabetes, you may be concerned about their health and well-being. This is a chronic illness requiring lifelong maintenance. You can’t remove the disease, but you can offer support, comfort, and kindness in a number of ways.
Encourage healthy eating
For someone who is newly diagnosed, a change in eating habits can be a challenge, but it is critical to normalise blood sugar and avoid complications. Be a source of encouragement by first joining their education classes or meeting with their dietitian and learning the best diet strategies, and then helping them make better meal choices and doing it alongside them. If you eat unhealthy foods around them, this makes it harder for them to stick to a nutritious routine. Limit your intake of sugary drinks, as well as highly processed and prepared foods, in their presence.
Offer to attend doctor appointments
offer to drive them to their next doctor’s appointment, or offer to pick up their medication from the pharmacy. If you go to a doctor’s appointment, offer to take notes. This may help them recall important information later on. Also, don’t be afraid to ask the doctor questions. The more you understand about type 2 diabetes, the more quality support you can provide. Pick up a few pamphlets while in the office and educate yourself on how the disease affects people
Regular physical activity is just as important as a healthy diet for those managing type 2 diabetes. Being active and losing weight can lower blood glucose. And while sticking to a regular exercise routine can be challenging, it’s often easier to exercise when you’re accountable to someone. Offer to become workout buddies and get together a few times a week. The target for a week is 30 minutes of activity most days, though if you do vigorous activity, you can get away with three to four days a week. You can also break the 30 minutes down into 10 minute segments. You and your loved one can take three 10-minute walks after meals, or walk for 30 minutes in a row.
A diabetes diagnosis can be scary, especially since there’s always the risk of complications. Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death trusted source in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although life-threatening complications can happen, you should keep conversations positive when speaking to someone living with type 2 diabetes. They are most likely aware of the possible complications, so they don’t need to hear about people who died from diabetes or had limbs amputated. Offer positive support, not negative stories.