The impact of family in managing type 2 diabetes
November 1, 2019
Being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes can be emotional not only for the person diagnosed but for their family as well. It’s important to know, however, that family members can play an integral role in supporting their loved ones and helping them manage this chronic disease.
More than 30 million adults in the U.S. and an estimated 463 million adults worldwide are living with diabetes.
It remains one of the most serious chronic health challenges we face today with global prevalence expected to rise to approximately 578 million adults by 2030. Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes, accounting for approximately 90-95% of all cases of diabetes of adults.
The importance of family in the care and management of type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that requires education, regular monitoring and a healthy lifestyle, so family support is key in addition to working with your healthcare provider. When a loved one is diagnosed, family members can take steps to help support them in the care and management of the disease.
Adopt a healthy lifestyle
A key element of type 2 diabetes treatment is a healthy lifestyle, which includes a healthy diet and increased physical activity. If someone in your family is diagnosed, make an effort to follow the same healthy food and physical activity plan as a sign of support, and help improve your own health, too!
While your family member learns new lifestyle management techniques and other important information about their diagnosis, it’s important for you to know the facts about type 2 diabetes to ensure you can be a strong ally in their care team.
- Why and when blood sugar should be checked and how to recognize the signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, which can be serious if left untreated.
- Know about A1C. A1C measures blood glucose over the past 2-3 months, and helps a healthcare provider determine how effective a treatment plan is working. The recommended A1C goal for many adults with type 2 diabetes is less than 7%. Higher or lower A1C goals may be appropriate for other patients. Ask your healthcare provider about the A1C target that is right for you. Keeping on track with an A1C goal can reduce the risk of diabetes complications, such as kidney disease or eye disease.
Go to appointments (but ask first)
If your family member feels comfortable with you attending their care appointments, sitting in is a helpful way for you to learn more about how best to help them manage their type 2 diabetes. You can also offer support in other ways, such as driving them to their healthcare provider’s office or offering to pick up groceries for a healthy dinner.
Managing type 2 diabetes can be overwhelming, but you can always lend encouragement and support by reminding your family member of their success and how proud you are of their progress.