What do I need to know about caring for someone with diabetes?

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Being a caregiver for a person with diabetes is no small task. In addition to guiding your family member or friend toward healthy lifestyle habits, you will need to help him or her measure blood sugar regularly, keep track of blood pressure and cholesterol levels and administer insulin.

But don't let the list overwhelm you. For instance, it may be a good idea to keep a calendar tracking your loved one's blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol measurements, as well as the times of insulin injections. Once routines are established, you may find that diabetes management is easier than expected. With a little bit of education, a regular schedule and a positive outlook, you and the person you are caring for can keep diabetes under control.

Diabetes is very difficult to handle alone. By helping a loved one follow the doctor's treatment plan, you will help them gain better control of their disease. Most of the daily care for someone with diabetes is related to stabilizing blood glucose levels. Low blood glucose levels, or hypoglycemia, can result in dizziness, sweatiness, even fainting. Make sure that both of you always have access to a fast-acting sugar to help treat low blood glucose. Some people with diabetes might experience such low blood sugar levels that they lose consciousness. In these cases, you'll need what's called a glucagon emergency kit available. Make sure you know how to administer the glucagon in case the diabetic is incapacitated.

When blood glucose levels are too high, also called hyperglycemia, this can cause tiredness and increased thirst. These complications can grow serious and require immediate attention. Get to know the members of the treatment team, and make sure that the treatment plan is being followed.

Continue Learning about Diabetes

Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus (MEL-ih-tus), often referred to as diabetes, is characterized by high blood glucose (sugar) levels that result from the body’s inability to produce enough insulin and/or effectively utilize the insulin. Diabetes ...

is a serious, life-long condition and the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism (the body's way of digesting food and converting it into energy). There are three forms of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that accounts for five- to 10-percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes may account for 90- to 95-percent of all diagnosed cases. The third type of diabetes occurs in pregnancy and is referred to as gestational diabetes. Left untreated, gestational diabetes can cause health issues for pregnant women and their babies. People with diabetes can take preventive steps to control this disease and decrease the risk of further complications.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.