Helping Diabetics Cope: The Dos & Don’ts

By: DGI Wire

Break glass in case he mentions your weight

(DGIwire) — As with most illnesses, family and friends can be true lifelines for people living with diabetes. They can lend a helping hand or shoulder to lean on at just the right moment. However, it can sometimes be difficult for loved ones who want to offer diabetes support to know the difference between being helpful and being a nag. With this in mind, here are some smart dos and don’ts from the American Diabetes Association for providing support that can benefit everyone:

• Do acknowledge that managing diabetes is hard work. Tell your loved one it’s understood that diabetes management is a full-time job—and that it’s recognized and appreciated how hard they work to deal with it.

• Do offer to be a diabetes buddy. A big part of managing diabetes is making healthy lifestyle choices. Offer to join the person with diabetes for a walk or a game of tennis. Suggest going to a restaurant that offers a good selection of healthy and tasty meals.

• Do ask how to be helpful. Don’t try to be a mindreader or automatically assume what’s best for the person with diabetes. Instead, ask for specific ways to help.

• Do show a caring attitude. Showing concern with tangible actions is more powerful than merely telling someone with diabetes they are cared about.

• Don’t play doctor. Unless a friend or relative is a real doctor, he or she shouldn’t be giving medical advice about diabetes, especially if it’s unsolicited.

• Don’t bring up other people’s diabetes cases. It doesn’t help someone trying to manage the condition to hear other people’s horror stories.

• Don’t stare. It can be hard enough on people with diabetes to routinely stick themselves without feeling like they’re being watched. If blood and needles make a friend or relative queasy, they shouldn’t look on with a horrified expression; they should turn away.

• Don’t give orders. Nobody should play the “diabetes police” and make loved ones with diabetes feel like criminals when they don’t obey. Make suggestions or recommendations but make sure they’re nothing more than that.

“Lending a helping hand can be a tremendous comfort to someone coping with diabetes, and a complement to treatment,” says David Platt, Ph.D., CEO of Boston Therapeutics, a pharmaceutical company.

Platt and his research team are developing an oral compound called BTI-320, an investigational, non-systemic, chewable, complex carbohydrate-based compound designed to reduce post-meal blood glucose spikes. BTI-320 is designed to be taken before meals. It works in the gastrointestinal tract to block the action of carbohydrate-hydrolyzing enzymes that break down complex carbohydrates into simple sugars, reducing the amount of glucose available to be absorbed into the bloodstream. The investigational drug is being studied to see if it can support healthy blood sugar and prevent post-meal glucose spikes and crashes, which are common in those with Type 2 diabetes.

“Taking an interest in a loved one’s diabetes can help them cope psychologically. When it comes to novel treatments, we believe BTI-320 might hold promise if further studies are positive,” says Dr. Platt.

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