There is often a fear of the unknown — which is really just a lack of education — when it comes to confronting someone about caring for their diabetes. Many feel that avoiding the topic altogether is the best approach, and for some this may be true.
But the majority of those living with diabetes would much rather loved ones ask and learn more about the disease so that it doesn't have to be the awkward elephant in the room. You know they have it, they know you know they have it and there really is no way to avoid it because diabetes is a very personal disease that goes everywhere with you. It doesn't have to define a person, but it does become a part of a person. So why not get to know that part of a person if you really want to get to know someone?
It is true that diabetes can be a hard subject to bring up. And there are some things you should avoid saying to a person with diabetes. Peggy Moreland, R.N. references a great list of dos and don’ts from the Behavioral Diabetes Institute in an article written for Mayo Clinic.
There are some great tips for good diabetes etiquette that can help anyone if they are worried about approaching someone about their diabetes. The overarching theme of the list is to be supportive but not pushy. Someone with diabetes wants to know that you are there for them and care enough about their health to learn about diabetes in order to help them have the best control possible, but they do not want you to control it for them.
Diabetes can be a hard disease to live with, and it is hard for someone on the outside to understand the daily physical and emotional challenges. But don’t make it a lonely disease. Learn all you can and ask questions in order to best help your friend or family member, or anyone living with diabetes for that matter. Diabetes is very prevalent in society and is only becoming more so. It is time to stop ignoring it or avoiding that conversation. It is time to get educated and embrace the future.