1) DONâT JUDGE THEIR FOOD OUT LOUD. You can think what you want, but what comes out of your mouth is another matter. No one wants someone nagging them all the time: “you eatinâ dat???â is not a phrase you should use. This, of course, depends on your relationship â parents will have a different version of this versus an employer perhaps. But my point is to be cautious when trying to ask or say something about what you see someone with diabetes eating. Donât be judgmental; try to be helpful.
2) DONâT FORCE SWEETS ON THEM. It is funny to me to see how folks sometimes judge what others eat, then turn around and get offended when their food is refused. So, donât try to force black cake on your friend with diabetes when they come to your house. Be prepared to offer something that is less likely to make their sugars go crazy.
3) BE A LISTENING EAR. As with any chronic disease, diabetes can be burdensome and at times your family member may want to just talk about it. So, listen.
4) ASK AND LEARN. It can be helpful to everyone if you learn something about diabetes yourself, especially healthy eating, how to treat low blood sugars, and warning signs of other problems, like infections.
5) LEARN HOW TO TREAT A LOW BLOOD SUGAR. This is especially important if it involves a child with diabetes, someone being treated with insulin, or an elderly person. Knowing how to do this quickly and safely can truly mean the difference between life and death.
6) ENCOURAGE THEM TO KEEP CLINIC APPOINTMENTS.
7) DONâT CONSTANTLY QUESTION THEIR MEDICATIONS. Raising doubt is not the best way to help anyone, especially if you donât know a better way to treat this. If you have concerns about a medication, voice them AND ask your loved one to discuss with their medical team.
8) GENTLY ENCOURAGE THE BEST DIET POSSIBLE if they live with you. Donât buy cookies and soda, then bring them into the house. Pack the house with fresh vegetables and fruits; encourage drinking water.
9) DONâT MAKE THEM FEEL AS THOUGH THIS IS THEIR FAULT. Yes, it is true that certain situations make it more likely to develop diabetes. But after it happens, what is the point in making someone feel guilty about it? So, donât judge and make them feel badly. It serves no purpose.
10) ASK HOW YOU CAN HELP. It may be something you did not realize. At work or school, make it easy for people to check blood sugars and eat healthfully. Sometimes it might be rides to clinic. Or walking together. Just ask.
Until our final week together, stay safe and healthy Vincies!
Anita Ramsetty, MD firstname.lastname@example.org
Medical Director Endocrine Care Group