With the prevalence of diabetes on the rise, it is important that adequate attention is given to the condition. Global statistics show that as of 2019, 1 in 11 (463 million) adults are living with diabetes and up to 50% do not know. In Nigeria, the prevalence of diabetes is high and is projected to keep on increasing. The estimated number of people who currently have issues with their glucose levels stand at 7.7 million and this number is set to increase to 17.9 million by 2045.
For people living with diabetes, it is important to have support from those around them as it is a lifelong condition that requires constant monitoring. Managing the condition daily – from taking medication(s), to being physically active and attending medical appointments can be overwhelming but having support can mean the difference. People living with diabetes are twice as likely to suffer from depression, so support is critical (Diabetes UK, 2021).
If you know a person living with diabetes and are wondering how you can offer them support, here are a few suggestions.
- Encourage a healthy diet: maintaining a healthy lifestyle is one of the most important ways to prevent the development of complications relating to diabetes. When it comes to diet, it is important to know that there is no diet specific to diabetes but it is important to eat a healthy diet consisting of complex carbs like potatoes, vegetables, healthy fats such as avocados, fruits and lean protein sources. If you live in the same house, adopt this healthy diet as well in solidarity!
- Encourage exercise: exercise is just as important as diet for people living with diabetes. It improves overall wellbeing, lowers blood pressure, promotes weight loss and improves the body’s sensitivity to insulin – thereby improving blood glucose control. You can go on walks and engage in other fitness activities together to encourage them.
- Educate yourself about diabetes: what better way to show support by learning about diabetes? Learning about diabetes (how to check blood sugar levels, handling low and high sugar levels and how to access information) and discussing it with the person living with diabetes shows support, involvement and comradeship.
- Offer support: You can offer to attend their clinic or support group day with them where coping strategies are discussed. Also offering to drive them to their doctor’s appointment or clinic day is a great gesture! If you are unable to give physical support, you can always provide emotional or financial support if needed.
- Ask how you can support them: everyone requires support in different ways. Ask them when you can help and what you can do. You must also understand that they may not require your support immediately; but knowing you are there for them – surely helps!
Diabetes is a lifelong condition and support is needed for those living with the condition. Learning about diabetes, encouraging a healthy lifestyle (with regards to diet and exercise) and offering your support in several ways – physically, emotionally and financially, are some of the ways you can be of help to a person living with the condition. Keep them empowered and beat diabetes!
Diabetes UK, 2021
Diabetes Atlas, 2019Leave a reply