Sometimes problems arise among family members when they don’t really understand the disease. If your teenager is grumpy because he has to wait for you to take an insulin shot before you drive him to the mall, it may be because he doesn’t understand how important it is. If your spouse is waving potato chips under your nose when you are trying to cut back, she may not understand the importance of your goal to eat healthily.
Many people think that treating diabetes is as simple as taking insulin a few times a day. Keep in mind that you have the right to ask for the support you need. As a first step, each family member needs to understand what diabetes is, how it is managed, and how to handle emergencies.
Tips for Educating Your Family
- Books, magazines, pamphlets, libraries, support groups, online message boards, and medical professionals can all be of assistance.
- Take a family member with you to some of your health care appointments. By keeping a running list of questions or issues with which they may be concerned, your family can get answers to their questions firsthand.
- Many diabetes education programs encourage family members to attend. The more information they have, the more they can help you and learn to integrate your diabetes management plan into the daily family routines.
Finally, your family should know what to do in an emergency. Make sure they understand the signs of hypoglycemia. Often people with diabetes having a low blood glucose episode will deny that there is a problem or refuse treatment, even though they may be in danger. Make sure your family members can recognize the signs of hypoglycemia and know how to deal with it.
Depending on your family, you can expect different responses to your diabetes and different levels of enthusiasm for helping you work toward your food and exercise goals. Some may join in wholeheartedly, looking at this as a team effort. Other families or family members may resent making changes when they aren’t the one who is sick. You need to find the approach that works best for you. In some situations, you may be better off if you go it alone.