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22 Things To Remember If Your Loved One Suffers From Type 1 Diabetes

22 Things To Remember If Your Loved One Suffers From Type 1 Diabetes

Many people mistakenly think Type 1 Diabetes develops because of a sugar-laden diet and lack of exercise. If your loved one has this disease, you know how far this is from the truth.

But imagine how difficult it is for them to constantly hear phrases like, “but you’re not fat,” or, “should you eat that?”

Day in and day out, they live with a disease that is largely misunderstood by the public. Unless you have Type 1 Diabetes, you can never completely understand what living with a life-threatening disease that needs constant treatment is like. However, you can support, empathize, and find heartfelt compassion for your loved one.

If you can remember the following twenty-two things that your loved one faces, you’ll come a lot closer to walking in their shoes:

1. They constantly face misguided judgments

Many people don’t know that Type 1 Diabetes is inherited. Your loved one constantly feels faulted by ignorant people for eating too much sugar or not exercising.

2. They have an incurable autoimmune disease, not a lifestyle disease

They cannot cure their disease by changing their diet or by exercising. Please help them by correcting people who suggest they quit eating sugar or start riding a bike.

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3. They live each day with a serious disease that often seems to arise out of the blue for no apparent reason

With their diagnosis of diabetes, their lives changed forever and they had nothing to do with it.

4. Their definition of normal is much different than yours and mine

They will take injections or use an insulin pump for their entire life. Their normal is giving themselves several shots a day or monitoring a pump attached to their abdomen.  Normal is keeping their blood sugar in a safe range, or else they could get hypoglycemia and slip into a coma.

5. They look like everyone else from the outside

…but the inside is way different. Their pancreas has stopped producing insulin, and if they don’t take insulin, they will slip into a coma and could die. They live with this reality.

6. Insulin pumps can make management easier, but not worry-free

Insulin pumps come closer to mimicking how a healthy pancreas would work, delivering insulin on a set schedule. This is not a cure, and diabetics need to monitor their carb intake and watch their blood sugar levels. Successful pumps require frequent user input.

7. They want to smack people who ask them if they got the disease from eating too much sugar

Their disease has nothing to do with indulging in too many sweets and they are sick of being asked if they have an insatiable sweet tooth.

8. They live with a disease that never leaves

Even using state-of-the-art monitoring systems, there is no program-and-forget option for Type 1 Diabetics. Too much or too little insulin can result in death.

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9. A canine could be their best friend and save their life

Specially trained dogs can sense rapid changes in blood chemistry before the symptoms of hypoglycemia are evident. A diabetic alert dog might be a wonderful gift for your loved one.

10. They grew up with parents who need to protect and hover

Most people are diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes as small children or adolescents. They grew up with parents who needed to protect and care for their child. It can be a matter of life or death, after all.

11. They represent just 5-10% of the diabetics in the world

…but the impact it has on their lives is often huge and overwhelming.

12. They need you because they have lost other close friends to the disease

Type 1 Diabetes is life-threatening and is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.

13. If you see them acting strangely, they are not drunk, and it could be life threatening

The symptoms of hypoglycemia include shakiness, blurred vision, confusion, and lack of coordination.  Get help if you notice them acting strangely.

14. The insulin they inject or pump each day is not a cure

They will take it every day in order to stay alive.

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15. They can’t ever have a holiday from this disease

It is with them every minute of every day.

16. Life is a never-ending balancing act

They have to be their own mathematician, nurse, and dietitian just to stay alive.

17. They hate it when you offer everyone but them a slice of birthday cake

They know how to handle their blood sugar much better than you do, so let them indulge and adjust their insulin levels.

18. They live with a disease that is often stigmatized

Some 71% of people with type 1 diabetes feel like they are stigmatized as being a burden on the healthcare system or a failure of personal responsibility.

19. Help them by becoming a Type 1 Diabetes myth-buster

They live in a world that misunderstands Type 1 Diabetes. Help people understand the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

20. They don’t want you to treat them like they are handicapped

Yes, they live with a disease, but diabetes does not affect their intelligence or make them immune to people’s stares at their pumps and insulin pins.

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21. They are wise well beyond their years

From a young age, they have had to take control of their health care. Diabetes pushed them to be their own best health advocate and nurse.  They have seen friends die from this disease.

22. They want your love and support, but not your pity

They want you to treat them like a human, one who feels joy and pain. True compassion and empathy show that you want to understand what life is like for them.

True empathy is walking in your loved one’s shoes and seeing their world without judgment. Empathy is not being bossy or giving unsolicited advice.

Remember that your loved one understands their disease a lot better than you do. So rather than telling them to change their lifestyle, why not treat them to a fun evening or pamper them with a day at a spa? Perhaps join them for a diabetes fundraising walk.

What would be the biggest improvement in their life?

A cure for diabetes. Help the research by donating to research for a cure

People with Type 1 Diabetes often feel alone and misunderstood, but with your support and solidarity, they can feel accepted and appreciated.

Featured photo credit: Person-woman-alone/Pixaby via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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