By Janis Roszler, MSFT, RD, CDE, LD/N
Q My mother has diabetes but won’t take care of herself. Our whole family is losing patience with her. What can we do?
A It is very difficult to watch a loved one ignore his or her medical needs. Here are several great suggestions adapted from Diabetes Burnout, by Bill Polonsky, PhD, CDE:
- Don’t assume that you know what your loved one is really thinking or feeling. It is easy to say someone is in denial about diabetes. You can’t know what anyone thinks or feels unless you ask.
- Do try to understand how your loved one’s actions make sense from HER perspective. How does she feel about diabetes? What are her concerns for the future? Ask and then listen without interrupting or judging. The only way to truly understand why your loved one appears to ignore her diabetes is to ask her directly.
- DON’T offer advice unless you’re asked for it.
- DO offer to help. During a quiet time when neither of you is angry or upset, let your loved one know that you are concerned about her health and that you’d like to help. Emphasize your understanding that she is in control of any diabetes-related help that is offered or taken.
- DO remind her on a regular basis that you love her.
- DO get educated. Find a diabetes education program in your area and enroll in it. You, not her! If your loved one wants to join you, great! In addition to learning excellent diabetes information, you can meet others and discuss how they cope with similar frustrations.
Q I was just diagnosed with glaucoma. Is this something that people with diabetes tend to get?
A People with diabetes develop glaucoma more often than those without diabetes. It is important to see your eye doctor on a regular basis for medical treatment to lower the eye pressure. Untreated glaucoma can destroy the optic nerve and destroy a person’s vision.
Q Is it normal to have frequent vaginal yeast infections?
A Vaginal yeast infections are quite common in women who have diabetes. If you do have one, try the following:
- Keep your blood sugar level within a healthy range, as determined by your health care team.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Avoid or reduce stress.
- Keep the affected area clean and dry.
- Ask your doctor about anti-fungal creams and suppositories. They can be helpful.
Q I read about a great new diet online. How can I tell if it is safe to try?
A There are many popular diets out there, but just because people use them doesn’t mean that they are healthy or safe.
- Eliminate or severely restrict a single food group.
- Make miraculous health and weight loss claims. If it looks too good to be true, it IS too good to be true!
- Quote personal experience as its only proof of effectiveness
Check to see if a product is supported by scientific research from a respected medical center or organization such as the American Diabetes Association, Joslin Medical Center, or Diabetes Research Institute. And be sure to review your dieting choice with your health care team before you start it. Each person is unique. Your meal plan must be compatible with your health needs.
*This article originally appeared in 2009
**please consult with your healthcare provider before making any changes to your diabetes regimen.