How to help a loved one cope with diabetes

 

When people have the support of their family and friends, they are able to better manage their diabetes. It is a hard disease to handle alone. You can help your loved one cope with diabetes by showing your support.

Learn about diabetes.

There is a lot to learn about how people can live well with diabetes. Use what you learn to help your loved one manage his or her diabetes.

  • Helping a loved one cope with diabetes begins with talking.
  • Ask your loved one to teach you about how he or she is managing diabetes.
  • Join a support group – in person or online – about living with diabetes. Check with your hospital or area health clinic to find one.
  • Read about diabetes online.
  • Ask your loved one’s health care team how you can learn more about managing diabetes.
  • Ask your loved one about coping with diabetes and how you can help.

Here are sample questions:

  • Do you ever feel down or overwhelmed about all you have to do to manage your diabetes?
  • Have you set goals to manage your diabetes?
  • What things seem to get in the way of reaching your goals?
  • What can I do to help? (Example: Are there things I can do to make it easier for you to live with diabetes? If you want to be more active, will it help if we take walks together?)
  • Have you talked to your health care team about your diabetes care and how you want to reach your goals?

How you can help.

Try some of these tips to help your loved one.

  • Find ways to help your loved one manage the stress of living with diabetes. Being a good listener is often the most important thing you can do to help.
  • Ask your loved one if he or she would like reminders about doctor visits, when to check blood sugar, and when to take medicine.
  • Help your loved one write a list of questions for the health care team.
  • Eat well. Help your loved one make meals that include foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Find things you can do together such as walking, dancing, or gardening. Being active is a great way to handle stress.
  • Walking together daily gives you time to talk and stay active.
  • Cut back on sweets by serving fresh fruit for dessert.
https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-communication-programs/ndep/ndep-health-topics/help-cope-diabetes/Pages/publicationdetail.aspx

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Diabetes symptoms

 

Individuals can experience different signs and symptoms of diabetes, and sometimes there may be no signs. Some of the signs commonly experienced include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Excessive thirst
  • Increased hunger
  • Weight loss
  • Tiredness
  • Lack of interest and concentration
  • A tingling sensation or numbness in the hands or feet
  • Blurred vision
  • Frequent infections
  • Slow-healing wounds
  • Vomiting and stomach pain (often mistaken as the flu)
Type 1 diabetes symptoms

The development of type 1 diabetes is usually sudden and dramatic while the symptoms can often be mild or absent in people with type 2 diabetes, making this type of diabetes hard to detect.

Source: http://www.idf.org/signs-and-symptoms-diabetes

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Who is at risk of developing diabetes?

 

Type 1 diabetes risk factors: The risk factors for type 1 diabetes are still being researched. However, having a family member with type 1 diabetes slightly increases the risk of developing the disease. Environmental factors and exposure to some viral infections have also been linked to the risk of developing type 1 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes risk factors: Several risk factors have been associated with type 2 diabetes and include:

  • Family history of diabetes
  • Overweight
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Physical inactivity
  • Increasing age
  • Having high blood pressure measuring 140/90 or higher
  • Having abnormal cholesterol with HDL (“good”) cholesterol is 35 or lower, or triglyceride level is 250 or higher.
  • Ethnicity (Being African American, American Indian, Asian American, Pacific Islander, or Hispanic American/Latino heritage.)
  • Impaired glucose tolerance (IGT)*
  • History of gestational diabetes
  • Poor nutrition during pregnancy

Impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) risks factors. This is a category of higher than normal blood glucose, but below the threshold for diagnosing diabetes. Changes in diet and physical activity related to rapid development and urbanization have led to sharp increases in the numbers of people developing diabetes.

Gestational diabetes risk factors. Pregnant women who are overweight, have been diagnosed with IGT, or have a family history of diabetes are all at increased risk of developing gestational diabetes mellitus. In addition, having been previously diagnosed with gestational diabetes or being of certain ethnic groups puts women at increased risk of developing GDM.

Source: http://www.idf.org/about-diabetes/risk-factors

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What is diabetes? 

 

A group of diseases that result in too much sugar in the blood (high blood glucose). Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose, or sugar, for our bodies to use for energy. The pancreas, an organ that lies near the stomach, makes a hormone called insulin to help glucose get into the cells of our bodies. When you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use its own insulin as well as it should.

Most common types

Type 2 diabetes

A chronic condition that affects the way the body processes blood sugar (glucose). Type 2 diabetes may account for about 90 percent to 95 percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. Risk factors for Type 2 diabetes include older age, obesity, family history of diabetes, prior history of gestational diabetes, impaired glucose tolerance, physical inactivity, and race/ethnicity.

Treatment for Type 2 diabetes

Treatment typically includes diet control, exercise, home blood glucose testing, and in some cases, oral medication and/or insulin. Approximately 40 percent of people with type 2 diabetes require insulin injections.

Type 1 diabetes

A chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin. Risk factors are less well defined for Type 1 diabetes than for Type 2 diabetes, but autoimmune, genetic, and environmental factors are involved in the development of this type of diabetes.

Treatment for Type 1 diabetes

Patients with type 1 diabetes will need to take insulin injections for the rest of their life. They must also ensure proper blood-glucose levels by carrying out regular blood tests and following a special diet.

Prediabetes

A condition in which blood sugar is high, but not high enough to be type 2 diabetes. The cells in the body are becoming resistant to insulin. Studies have indicated that even at the prediabetes stage, some damage to the circulatory system and the heart may already have occurred.

Gestational diabetes

A form of high blood sugar affecting pregnant women. Undiagnosed or uncontrolled gestational diabetes can raise the risk of complications during childbirth.

 Other types of Diabetes: 

LADA

LADA tends to develop more slowly than type 1 diabetes in childhood and, because LADA can sometimes appear similar to type 2 diabetes, doctors may mistakenly diagnose LADA as type 2 diabetes. It shows many of the genetic, immune, and metabolic features of Type 1 diabetes, and carries a high risk of progression to insulin dependency. This form of the condition is known as ‘latent autoimmune diabetes in adults’ (LADA). It is found in about 10% of initially non-insulin-requiring people with diabetes and is therefore probably more prevalent than Type 1 diabetes.

MODY

MODY is a rare form of diabetes which is different from both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes and runs strongly in families. MODY is caused by a mutation (or change) in a single gene. If a parent has this gene mutation, any child they have, has a 50% chance of inheriting it from them. If a child does inherit the mutation they will generally go on to develop MODY before they’re 25, whatever their weight, lifestyle, ethnic group, etc.

Monogenic diabetes

Monogenic diabetes is a rare type of diabetes that’s caused by a single gene mutation.

Chronic Pancreatitis-associated Diabetes

Chronic pancreatitis-associated diabetes is caused by chronic pancreatitis, a prolonged inflammation of the pancreas, which causes extensive damage to exocrine tissue.

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Food Safety

If you have questions about food safety topics, call the USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline at 1-888MPHotline or chat live with a food safety specialist at AskKaren.gov. These services are available from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, in English and Spanish.

Basics for Handling Food Safely

Safe steps in food handling, cooking, and storage are essential to prevent foodborne illness. You can’t see, smell, or taste harmful bacteria that may cause illness. In every step of food preparation, follow the four steps of the Food Safe Families campaign to keep food safe:

  • Clean — Wash hands and surfaces often.
  • Separate — Don’t cross-contaminate.
  • Cook — Cook to the right temperature.
  • Chill — Refrigerate promptly.

Shopping

  • Purchase refrigerated or frozen items after selecting your non-perishables.
  • Never choose meat or poultry in packaging that is torn or leaking.
  • Do not buy food past “Sell-By,” “Use-By,” or other expiration dates.

Storage

  • Always refrigerate perishable food within 2 hours—1 hour when the temperature is above 90 °F (32.2 ºC).
  • Check the temperature of your refrigerator and freezer with an appliance thermometer. The refrigerator should be at 40 °F (4.4 ºC) or below and the freezer at 0 °F (-17.7 ºC) or below.
  • Cook or freeze fresh poultry, fish, ground meats, and variety meats within 2 days; other beef, veal, lamb, or pork, within 3 to 5 days.
  • Perishable food such as meat and poultry should be wrapped securely to maintain quality and to prevent meat juices from getting onto other food.
  • To maintain quality when freezing meat and poultry in its original package, wrap the package again with foil or plastic wrap that is recommended for the freezer.
  • Canned foods are safe indefinitely as long as they are not exposed to freezing temperatures, or temperatures above 90 °F. If the cans look ok, they are safe to use. Discard cans that are dented, rusted, or swollen. High-acid canned food (tomatoes, fruits) will keep their best quality for 12 to 18 months; low-acid canned food (meats, vegetables) for 2 to 5 years.

Preparation

  • Always wash hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds before and after handling food.
  • Don’t cross-contaminate. Keep raw meat, poultry, fish, and their juices away from other food. After cutting raw meats, wash cutting board, utensils, and countertops with hot, soapy water.
  • Cutting boards, utensils, and countertops can be sanitized by using a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach in 1 gallon of water.
  • Marinate meat and poultry in a covered dish in the refrigerator.

Thawing

  • Refrigerator: The refrigerator allows slow, safe thawing. Make sure thawing meat and poultry juices do not drip onto other food.
  • Cold Water: For faster thawing, place food in a leak-proof plastic bag. Submerge in cold tap water. Change the water every 30 minutes. Cook immediately after thawing.
  • Microwave: Cook meat and poultry immediately after microwave thawing.

Cooking
Cook all raw beef, pork, lamb and veal steaks, chops, and roasts to a minimum internal temperature of 145 °F (62.8 ºC) as measured with a food thermometer before removing meat from the heat source. For safety and quality, allow meat to rest for at least three minutes before carving or consuming. For reasons of personal preference, consumers may choose to cook meat to higher temperatures.

Ground meats: Cook all raw ground beef, pork, lamb, and veal to an internal temperature of 160 °F (71.1 ºC) as measured with a food thermometer.

Poultry: Cook all poultry to an internal temperature of 165 °F (73.9 °C) as measured with a food thermometer.

Serving

  • Hot food should be held at 140 °F (60 °C) or warmer.
  • Cold food should be held at 40 °F (4.4 ºC) or colder.
  • When serving food at a buffet, keep food hot with chafing dishes, slow cookers, and warming trays. Keep food cold by nesting dishes in bowls of ice or use small serving trays and replace them often.
  • Perishable food should not be left out more than 2 hours at room temperature—1 hour when the temperature is above 90 °F (32.2 ºC).

Leftovers

  • Discard any food left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours—1 hour if the temperature was above 90 °F (32.2 ºC).
  • Place food into shallow containers and immediately put in the refrigerator or freezer for rapid cooling.
  • Use cooked leftovers within 4 days.
  • Reheat leftovers to 165 °F (73.9 °C).

Refreezing
Meat and poultry defrosted in the refrigerator may be refrozen before or after cooking. If thawed by other methods, cook before refreezing.

Cold Storage Chart

These short, but safe, time limits will help keep refrigerated food from spoiling or becoming dangerous to eat. Because freezing keeps food safe indefinitely, recommended storage times are for quality only.

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