A new diagnosis can mean a new way of life.
You have just found out that a loved on has been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. You may feel worried for your family member or friend and are struggling to find ways to help. Your caring and willingness to lend a hand will help you support them, an asset which they will need to move forward. Most importantly, don’t panic. This is, unfortunately, a common diagnosis these days, and there are many things your loved one can do to improve, or even reverse, their condition. It’s important to understand what their current health situation is by educating yourself about type 2 diabetes.
What is type 2 diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes (in addition to type 1 and gestational). People with type 2 diabetes have insulin resistance, which means that their body does not use insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone that helps transport blood glucose into the body’s cells to be used later for energy. Because of their condition, being that they are resistant to insulin, sufferers of type 2 diabetes have higher levels of blood glucose – which isn’t good. Their pancreas is being overworked and can no longer keep up with the misguided demands for insulin production.
Now that you’re informed, you’ll be prepared in going forward so that you can help your loved one adjust to their new lifestyle. Here are some things that you can do to help that special person in your life.
5 things you can do to help support your loved one:
- Ask, “what can I do to help you care for your type 2 diabetes?” Reach out to your loved one to see if you can help. This will show them that you are available and ready to assist them with anything they need.
- Help them find answers and solutions to help improve their condition. Learning about options for diabetes treatment can feel overwhelming, so being a support for your loved one will help immensely. Knowing that you are there to help them navigate their treatment options is invaluable.
- Healthy eating. Why are group challenges so popular? Group challenges are popular due to the community feel and the friendly push to for improvement. You can provide this sense of community for your loved one as they begin to overhaul their food choices. Volunteering to be their accountability buddy can encourage them to make better choices while having fun doing it alongside a partner.
- Get moving. Encourage your friend or family member to get up and get moving. It doesn’t have to be strenuous – walking is a great, low-impact way to get active. Exercise helps to reduce stress, increase endorphins and help keep blood glucose levels stable. Cheer them on – it will help motivate them to keep at it!
- Listen. Often times, you’ll find that the most effective way to help your loved one is by simply offering to listen. Be there to listen to their challenges, frustrations and allow them to vent, discuss plans, and share some laughs.
Type 2 diabetes sufferers don’t have to go it alone; you can help.
There are plenty of things that you can do to help out your family member or friend that has been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Letting them know that they have a support system in you will help them better deal with their condition.
Ryan Valencic is the senior clinic director at Carolina Integrative Health Care. Dr. Valencic has been practicing functional medicine for several years and has committed himself to working predominantly with type II diabetics.