Friends And Family Guide To Type 1

Pramita P N ·
Friends And Family Guide To Type 1

Living With Type 1

It could be your loved one, the kid across the street, or your significant other. Type 1 can be frustrating, confusing, and exhausting. It’s living with a never-ending to-do list - “Did I check my blood sugar?” “Oh wait! I’m exercising later, so better to have a snack now” “Does that restaurant have sugar free option?” Diabetes can affect a person in several ways - it’s not easy constantly having to count the calories and keeping your insulin in check.

So what can YOU do to help? Supporting someone with diabetes with care and empathy can be incredibly helpful. If you have a friend or a family member trying to get through the good and bad days of diabetes, then consider this as a helping guide on how to give them the support they need.

Don’t Tag Them As Diabetic

Remember that your words have a great impact, so using them in the right way can have a positive effect. The use of certain phrases and words can unintentionally put down a person. People do not like to be addressed by their diagnosis, they are more to them than just being a “diabetic”. Try to refrain from addressing them as diabetic. It shows that you see the person first ahead of the disease they have to live with. Move beyond the labels.

Don’t Judge

There are a lot of stereotypes associated with diabetes. One of them is assuming that people with diabetes made poor lifestyle choices. “Oh, you don’t look diabetic” , “you are a diabetic? Did you eat a lot of sweets?” Assuming diabetics to be lazy, lethargic, obese and blaming them for their lifestyle choices is not going to help. Type 1 is an autoimmune disease where lifestyle has nothing to do with it. Don’t make them feel like they are responsible for this disease.

Participate In Health Choice Rather Than Lecturing

Put yourself in your loved one’s place. Would you like it if someone was constantly badgering you to go for that walk or eat that Ayurvedic herb. Motivation runs low when there’s someone breathing down the neck. Make it a positive experience for them by booking reservations to a healthy restaurant, stocking up on sugar-free treats at home, accompanying them on that morning walk. Be a part of their healthy routine rather than merely telling them what to do.

Nerd Up On What To Do During An Emergency

 Episodes of high blood sugar and low blood sugar could cause them to behave in a certain way. Learn to recognise the first signs of trouble like slurred speech, tremors, pale skin. During such emergencies, they won’t be able to properly treat themselves, so be prepared for what you need to do and be by their side.

Bring In Acceptance

People with type 1 diabetes need to take manual insulin shots and take blood checks sometimes at social events, schools and other public places. Some people might hesitate to do so in the fear of getting stares from people around them or making other people uncomfortable. Offer them your support and understanding, that it’s just another daily regime to help to manage diabetes. Show them that it’s just a part of their daily ritual.

Ask How You Can Help

As long as your loved one is open for communication, let them know you are here for them by asking them how you can play a role. Let them make it clear to you when and where they would love you to pitch in and most importantly: when they would not like your involvement. Living with diabetes requires a lot of care and attention, and expecting your partner to do everything on their own might be unreasonable, so try to pick up the slack wherever you can. Communicate with your loved one.

Comments to Avoid

    • Are you sure you want to eat that?

They are well aware of the choices they make and someone constantly second-guessing them and reminding them what they can’t do isn’t appropriate.

    • “Oh god I ate so much sugar today, I might end up with diabetes too,” jokes

Firstly, they are not true, since it is an autoimmune disease and secondly they aren’t exactly funny to them. Don’t you think the person who receives those jokes should be able to tell if it’s hurtful or funny?

    • Trying to be a nutritionist/counsellor

Yes! We understand you want to help but, randomly stating facts you read on WhatsApp messages or giving them unwanted “Gyan” is not a good idea

    • Does that injection hurt?

This is part of their daily routine and they have gotten pretty used to it. Most of them might be conscious about it, so bringing attention to it will only make it worse.

The more you know, the better you will be able to support your loved ones during a crisis.

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