hen a child is diagnosed with type 1 or a parent with type 2, or vice versa, as all is possible, the initial reaction is often one of relief. It sounds crazy to one who is aware of the seriousness of diabetes, but the average person has only limited experience and the media in which to base this reaction. Diabetes is common; people live with it every day; grandma has it and grandma seems fine. This immediate feeling changes rather quickly, particularly when discussing juvenile diabetes, and a haze of confusion, guilt, uncertainty and fear sets in. Or, stubbornness and resistance kicks in strengthening the hold of daily routines and old habits.
These moments and others can be overwhelming too much so, for any one person to handle. However, there is no reason for any one person to handle those moments alone.
An endocrinologist and/or diabetes specialist is the first means of support. Following his/her instruction and keeping follow-up appointments are important. Diabetes can create a number of problems within the body, including issues with the kidneys, the heart, eyes and more. Diabetes checks and tests are crucial to maintaining glucose levels and protecting vital organs, overall well-being and a positive attitude.
Beyond doctors, a diabetic requires backing and encouragement from family and friends. Those around the individual should be aware of the dangers and know how to help if the need arises. With older individuals, those who are understandably set in their ways or who do not want to burden others, it may be necessary for family to encourage daily maintenance and diabetic checks. Also, it is tough to be burdened with finger sticks and shots, the threat of getting low or high, the body not working as it ‘should,’ etc.; being there to talk and/or listen through those overwhelming moments means a lot.
Lastly, there are numerous support groups designed to help in understanding, accepting and learning to not only live with diabetes but to live a happy, successful and fulfilling life with diabetes. A good place to start is with the doctor; if he/she has not offered information regarding assistance, ask. Groups, such as Diabetes UK are also great resources. They can offer a care or hotline for individuals and family, a guide to online communities that can help, a peer support network as well as direction to local volunteer groups.
After diabetes presents with high blood sugar levels, diabetic ketoacidosis and a number of other terrifying symptoms, being diagnosed can be a relief. One, the culprit has been found and the knowledge that it can be managed can alleviate some fear. Two, understanding that no one is alone in the battle with diabetes can reduce the stress and moments of panic. Three, finding those individuals who have been there, who truly understand and who genuinely care, can lift the haze, loosen the resistance and bring one back, better than ever.
There are lots of support groups on line such as www.diabetes.org.uk which can provide after diagnosis support.
Michael Smith is a keen health blogger
who has provided health and support through blogging in various health channels.