Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body either doesn't produce enough insulin, or it doesn't use insulin effectively. A diabetic's blood sugar levels must be carefully monitored to prevent both high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) and low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Both conditions can result in troubling symptoms and may escalate to more serious problems. If a diabetic's blood sugar swings excessively in one direction or the other (either too low or too high), he or she may be unable to help him or herself. Knowing what to do in case of emergency is important.complications including heart disease, hypertension, depression or mood swings, foot pain, vision problems, poor circulation, and kidney disease.
A proper diet can help with blood sugar control. Ask the person with diabetes for information on their eating plan and schedule, and what foods 'trigger' their blood sugar to spike. This information is useful just in case you find yourself dealing with a situation of high blood sugar that needs to be addressed.
Likewise, knowing appropriate portions is also useful. Should the person with diabetes eat too little in a meal but continue taking their regular dose of medication or insulin, their blood sugar may drop too low.
You may want to talk to a dietitian yourself to learn about what types of foods the diabetic should eat more often and those they should try to avoid. A "diabetic diet plan" is actually a good, healthy eating plan for everyone, whether they have diabetes or not! Encourage the person with diabetes to follow the proper eating plan and help them to monitor their blood glucose levels, if required.
This may sound overly nosy; after all, no one wants to be treated like a child! Offer respectfully and let them know that you want to learn how to help, just in case it's needed. Back off if they seem sensitive and give them time and the chance to approach you instead.
Exercise is a critial part of any type 2 diabetes treatment plan, since it helps to regulate blood sugar as well as lower cholesterol and improve blood pressure. Again, respectfully ask about their exercise plan and offer support if they want it. Monitor blood sugar levels if recommended by their doctor - exercising too much, especially if they've skipped a meal or haven't stuck to their eating schedule, can result in low blood sugar. Exercising too little may result in higher blood sugar.
In the event that someone with diabetes cannot help themselves, it can be useful to know how to use the components of a diabetes test kit. This includes knowing how to use the glucometer, lancet and test strip to get a blood glucose reading.
Some type 2 diabetics take pills to help them manage their blood sugar as well as various other conditions common to diabetics. Insulin shots may also be necessary. Ask for a demonstration of how to administer medication, in case the situation arises where the person is unable to administer it themselves. Keep instructions and dosages handy so that you can refer to them as necessary.
Diabetes information for caregivers is something that every caregiver will need to put together with the assistance of the person with diabetes, who has individualized diet, exercise, and treatment plans. Family and friends who are put in the caregiver role can sometimes feel overwhelmed. Don't be afraid to ask for help from healthcare providers if you need it.