My spouse has recently been diagnosed with diabetes. What can I do to be supportive?

Answer From Sara J. Carlson, R.N., C.D.E.

Family members often struggle with how to support a loved one who has diabetes. Here are some tips:

  • Educate yourself. Learn everything you can about diabetes and your loved one's situation. Tag along to diabetes education classes and diabetes appointments if your loved one agrees. Don't offer unsolicited advice.
  • Walk the walk. Join your loved one in making healthy lifestyle changes. Make changes together as a team or household. Set small goals such as taking a walk after dinner or trying a new healthy recipe. Don't play the food or exercise police.
  • Be patient. Allow your loved one time to process what can be an overwhelming amount of information and recommendations. Be patient with the extra time your loved one may need to read labels, count carbohydrates, monitor blood glucose, administer insulin, perform foot care or pack for a trip. Don't disregard the fact that managing diabetes is hard work.
  • Communicate your support. Ask your loved one how you can be helpful. Be specific about what you're able to help with. If your offer is refused, let your loved one know the door is open if and when they're ready. Don't offer help you're not willing to provide.
  • Take care of yourself. Recognize your limitations. No one can be helpful if they're exhausted or overly stressed. Look for a support group for caregivers.
June 03, 2020 See more Expert Answers

See also

  1. Medication-free hypertension control
  2. A1C test
  3. After a flood, are food and medicines safe to use?
  4. Air pollution and exercise
  5. Alcohol: Does it affect blood pressure?
  6. Alpha blockers
  7. Amputation and diabetes
  8. Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
  9. Angiotensin II receptor blockers
  10. Anxiety: A cause of high blood pressure?
  11. Artificial sweeteners: Any effect on blood sugar?
  12. Bariatric surgery
  13. Beta blockers
  14. Beta blockers: Do they cause weight gain?
  15. Beta blockers: How do they affect exercise?
  16. Blood glucose meters
  17. Blood glucose monitors
  18. Blood pressure: Can it be higher in one arm?
  19. Blood pressure chart
  20. Blood pressure cuff: Does size matter?
  21. Blood pressure: Does it have a daily pattern?
  22. Blood pressure: Is it affected by cold weather?
  23. Blood pressure medication: Still necessary if I lose weight?
  24. Blood pressure medications: Can they raise my triglycerides?
  25. Blood pressure readings: Why higher at home?
  26. Blood pressure tip: Get more potassium
  27. Blood pressure tip: Get off the couch
  28. Blood pressure tip: Know alcohol limits
  29. Blood pressure tip: Stress out no more
  30. Blood pressure tip: Watch the caffeine
  31. Blood pressure tip: Watch your weight
  32. Blood sugar levels can fluctuate for many reasons
  33. Blood sugar testing: Why, when and how
  34. Bone and joint problems associated with diabetes
  35. Pancreas transplant animation
  36. Build resilience to better handle diabetes
  37. Caffeine and hypertension
  38. Calcium channel blockers
  39. Calcium supplements: Do they interfere with blood pressure drugs?
  40. Can low vitamin D cause high blood pressure?
  41. Can whole-grain foods lower blood pressure?
  42. Central-acting agents
  43. Choosing blood pressure medications
  44. COVID-19: Who's at higher risk of serious symptoms?
  45. Diabetes
  46. Diabetes and dental care
  47. Diabetes and depression: Coping with the two conditions
  48. Diabetes and exercise: When to monitor your blood sugar
  49. Diabetes and fasting: Can I fast during Ramadan?
  50. Diabetes and foot care
  51. Diabetes and Heat
  52. Diabetes and menopause
  53. Diabetes and summer: How to beat the heat
  54. Diabetes and travel: Planning is key
  55. Diabetes and electric blankets
  56. 10 ways to avoid diabetes complications
  57. Diabetes diet: Create your healthy-eating plan
  58. Diabetes diet: Should I avoid sweet fruits?
  59. Diabetes foods: Can I substitute honey for sugar?
  60. Diabetes and liver
  61. Diabetes management: Does aspirin therapy prevent heart problems?
  62. Diabetes management: How lifestyle, daily routine affect blood sugar
  63. Diabetes: Eating out
  64. Diabetes nutrition: Sweets
  65. Diabetes symptoms
  66. Diabetes treatment: Can cinnamon lower blood sugar?
  67. Using insulin
  68. Diabetic Gastroparesis
  69. Diuretics
  70. Diuretics: A cause of low potassium?
  71. Do you know your blood pressure?
  72. Erectile dysfunction and diabetes
  73. High blood pressure and exercise
  74. Exercise and chronic disease
  75. Fatigue
  76. Free blood pressure machines: Are they accurate?
  77. Frequent urination
  78. Home blood pressure monitoring
  79. Glucose tolerance test
  80. Glycemic index: A helpful tool for diabetes?
  81. Healthy heart for life: Avoiding heart disease
  82. Hemochromatosis
  83. High blood pressure (hypertension)
  84. High blood pressure and cold remedies: Which are safe?
  85. High blood pressure and sex
  86. High blood pressure: Can you prevent it?
  87. High blood pressure dangers
  88. Hypertensive crisis: What are the symptoms?
  89. Insulin and weight gain
  90. Insulin therapy options
  91. Intensive insulin therapy
  92. Isolated systolic hypertension: A health concern?
  93. L-arginine: Does it lower blood pressure?
  94. Late-night eating: OK if you have diabetes?
  95. Low-phosphorus diet: Helpful for kidney disease?
  96. Diabetes and carbs
  97. Medications and supplements that can raise your blood pressure
  98. Menopause and high blood pressure: What's the connection?
  99. Infographic: Pancreas Kidney Transplant
  100. Pancreas transplant
  101. Pulse pressure: An indicator of heart health?
  102. Reactive hypoglycemia: What can I do?
  103. Reading food labels
  104. Resperate: Can it help reduce blood pressure?
  105. Service dogs assist with diabetes care
  106. Sleep deprivation: A cause of high blood pressure?
  107. Blood sugar testing
  108. Sodium nitrate in meat: Heart disease risk factor?
  109. Stress and high blood pressure
  110. The dawn phenomenon: What can you do?
  111. Tips for cutting costs of blood glucose test strips
  112. Unexplained weight loss
  113. Vasodilators
  114. Vegetarian diet: Can it help me control my diabetes?
  115. How diabetes affects your blood sugar
  116. How to measure blood pressure using a manual monitor
  117. How to measure blood pressure using an automatic monitor
  118. What is blood pressure?
  119. Weight Loss Surgery Options
  120. Weightlifting: Bad for your blood pressure?
  121. What's your high blood pressure risk?
  122. White coat hypertension
  123. Why does diet matter after bariatric surgery?
  124. Wrist blood pressure monitors: Are they accurate?