How Diabetes Affects the Whole Family

February 22,2021 |
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Living with diabetes is not an easy task. It requires ongoing care and management, planning and preparation, and a lot of emotional strength. After diabetes develops, it remains a chronic condition that needs to be taken care of forever. While there are ways to reduce the impact that diabetes has on your life, depending on your type, it requires a lot of changes and modifications to habits. Regardless of when you’re diagnosed with diabetes, there’s going to be a learning curve that can be stressful and, at times, dangerous. To make sure that you’re adapting and managing your condition in a healthy manner, you need a good support system in place. In an effort to better understand diabetes and foster healthy relationships, here’s how diabetes affects the whole family.

How Diabetes Impacts Family Finances

Unfortunately, even with insurance diabetes can be expensive. Since it’s a chronic condition, you’ll need to make sure that you’re equipped with insulin at all times throughout the remainder of your life. If you’re diagnosed with diabetes at an early age, the costs end up being far greater than a diagnosis that comes in your 40’s or 50’s. It makes sense since you need ongoing care and supplies—the longer you have diabetes, the more it costs. On average, you can expect to spend up to $14,000 per year on everything. This includes medications to manage diabetes, diabetic supplies, doctor visits, any hospital stays, and costs associated with rehabilitation facilities.

It’s also important to note that the longer you have diabetes, the higher the risk you’re at for developing complications. The more complications you have, the higher the cost of treatment. When you properly manage your diabetes, you can greatly reduce the overall financial strain it causes.

While it’s absolutely essential that you properly manage your diabetes and stay on top of your medications, regardless of finances, it’s still something that you’ll need to discuss with your family. Financial strain from chronic conditions can cause difficulty in a family dynamic, especially if you and your spouse have been working towards a goal. At the end of the day, don’t let the finances make you feel guilty. Your family is more concerned about your health and wellness than they are with taking that fancy vacation or buying a new car. Keep an open line of communication where everyone can express their concerns so that you can find a way to tackle any problems and work towards something nice together. If you feel like you’re overspending on diabetes supplies, make sure that you talk to your doctor and find a good medical supply company like Byram Healthcare.

The Emotional Impact of Diabetes

If you’re living with diabetes, you understand the myriad of emotions and mental challenges involved. Diabetes distress is common and can be dangerous when not addressed. You may feel anxious, frustrated, unmotivated, depressed, and begin to manage your diabetes poorly. While it’s very important to make sure that you get the support you need first and foremost, the emotional impact can also affect family and friends.

Fear About Complications

One of the biggest impacts on your family’s emotional wellbeing will be the fear of diabetic complications. Poorly managed diabetes can lead to serious problems such as loss of eyesight, kidney disease, nerve damage, high blood pressure, heart disease, and more. Many family members express at least some level of anxiety regarding the wellbeing of their loved one living with diabetes. To make sure that you help ease your family’s anxiety, and keep yourself healthy, it’s important to properly control your blood sugar.

Stress About Powerlessness

Family members may begin to stress over their feelings of powerlessness in a situation. They fear that they have no way of helping you, which can take a toll on everyone’s mental health. This can lead to strain in a relationship and even blame if something bad were to happen. While you’re responsible for your diabetes management, creating a family meal plan can make your loved ones feel as if they’re doing something to help.

Anxious About Education

Even if you’ve been living with diabetes for a while, it’s unlikely that you know everything about it. Diabetes education is an ongoing process and requires effort to stay up to date with important developments. If your family is anxious about their knowledge on diabetes, or ongoing developments, try to incorporate group activities that involve reading articles, blogs, and informative magazines. Just make sure that your family understands that they will never know everything about diabetes, and they shouldn’t be overloading themselves.

Uncertainty of Emergencies

One of the biggest emotional tolls that diabetes takes on your family is the uncertainty about what to do in an emergency. If you’re properly managing your diabetes, you likely haven’t had to deal with this. However, you should still be prepared. Make sure that your family knows the signs of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. This presents itself with cold sweat, pale or washed-out skin, irritability, hunger, heart palpitations, confusion, fatigue, and eventually loss of consciousness or seizures. Make sure that your family knows these signs and how to address them in case they do occur.

Stress About Changing Lifestyles

Another emotional stressor could be the magnitude of change that comes with a diabetes diagnosis. We all know how hard it is to change our habits and trying to do too many things at once leads to failure. It’s stressful and while many people fall off the wagon and continue on with their vices, this is less of an option for those living with diabetes. To help, try to encourage small habitual changes and do what you can to stay committed to healthy habits.

The Physical Impact of Diabetes on Others

While living with diabetes has very measurable physical changes on your own body, it can also lead to manifestations of physical problems in others. This most often occurs when your family is stressed or worried. Over time, chronic stress can play a toll on the body and lead to things like heart disease, stomach problems, high blood pressure, obesity, headaches, and even, ironically enough, diabetes. While your physical health should be a priority, it’s also important to connect with your family members to unite together and overcome challenges.

Extreme stress sometimes results in sexual dysfunction over time. This can be due to the challenges that living with diabetes brings such as decreased libido, difficulty reaching orgasm, or trouble with arousal. If you’re struggling with sexual function, talk to your doctor to make sure that you’re properly managing your diabetes. These problems may be indications of circulation problems, nerve damage, or other complications from diabetes. It’s also important to be open and honest with your partner about what’s going on so that they understand.

On the contrary, diabetes can also have positive effects on the whole family. By engaging in new lifestyle habits together, you’ll start finding exercises to do together, ways of being active, explore healthier meal options, and find joy in the little things. This inevitably leads to a stronger relationship, losing excess weight, and an overall positive demeanor on life. While living with diabetes brings a lot of change, not all of it is bad. The important thing is maintaining a positive outlook and making sure that you’re surrounded by a good support system. For the biggest impact, make sure that you openly communicate with your friends and family and try to find a support group near you to speak with other individuals living with diabetes.

How to Reduce the Negative Impact of Diabetes on Your Family

Understanding all of the ways that diabetes affects the whole family isn’t meant to make you feel guilty. In an effort to create healthy family dynamics, it’s important to be honest about the condition and how you’ll need to work together. The best way to get started is to make sure that everyone in your family understands what diabetes is and how it affects your daily life. Encourage open, honest communication between everyone regardless of age. When doing so, you’ll make it easier for your family to approach you with concerns or questions. As an added bonus, practicing this from an early age will help foster trust and communication among your family for everything that happens in life.

Try to make lifestyle changes as a whole. This not only makes diabetes management easier, but it also creates opportunities for bonding and leads to healthier decisions for everyone. When everyone makes a change, it helps you feel supported and reduces the chances of diabetes distress. This in turn limits the amount of stress that your family feels due to worry or anxiety about worsening conditions. If you find yourself needing more help, consider talking to a counselor or a professional about what you’re struggling with. Byram Healthcare has been rated one of the best overall diabetes supply companies of 2020 and we intend to continue to provide outstanding customer service and diabetes products for years to come. To learn more about our product catalog or to speak with someone from our Diabetes Center of Excellence, contact us today at 1-877-90-BYRAM.