Why Diabetes is a Family Affair

The diagnosis of diabetes is often unexpected and unwelcome to say the least. It can be quite a shock for the person with diabetes and also for their family and friends. Along with the diagnosis of diabetes can come a range of feelings, such as anger, sadness, grief, denial, loss, relief (that you know what is wrong now and what has been causing symptoms and that there is a treatment), as well as fear and anxiety.

Sometimes these feelings can overwhelm the person with diabetes. If you are a family member or support person you can also experience these feelings and become overwhelmed. Some people find it hard to talk to the person with diabetes, especially if they withdraw. It can be hard to know how much or how little to become involved in their diabetes management.

If these emotions become too difficult to deal with, it is important to seek professional assistance. If you are a parent of a child who gets diabetes you are going to be taking the lead role and the range of emotions, worries and changes you will face will be the same as for the person with diabetes.

We all need time to adjust to a diagnosis of diabetes and this goes for the person with diabetes as well as their family. You need to allow yourself this time and take things step at a time. As a family member or friend, you might find that you need to talk to someone other than the person with diabetes, so you can work through your own feelings and worries.

It can be very daunting for everyone at first as the management and treatment of diabetes involves a variety of often complex recommendations depending on type of diabetes, stage of the condition and general health of the person with diabetes. These include healthy eating and regular physical activity for everyone. Insulin injections are usually needed straight away for people with type 1 diabetes, although there can be a honeymoon period that varies in length, which will also impact dose.

People with type 2 diabetes may need medication from the start, some will not, some may even need insulin from the start if diagnosed late in the development of their diabetes. Home blood glucose monitoring,healthy weight management, getting a good sleep and reducing stress are also central in staying healthy and reducing the risks of diabetes-related complications in the short and long term.

Family and friends are a very important part of everybody’s life. When someone has diabetes that encouragement and support from loved ones is vital.

Do you have the support of your family and are they involved enough or too  much in your diabetes? It is important to discuss how much of a role they will play in your management. Some people are not interested in their loved ones diabetes, others are over involved. The most important thing is to communicate – then everyone can feel better and more united in your relationships as well as your diabetes.

Helen

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