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Helping Someone with Diabetes Type 2

Updated on March 29, 2012

Come Along on My Journey

I'm an avid medical researcher, and so when my Mother-in-Law was diagnosed with Diabetes, my journey began. Like many people, I had some basic knowledge, but every day a new question seemed to pop into my head.

What are normal blood sugar levels?

What is the Diabetic diet?

How do blood glucose changes effect us?

Why do so many people have Diabetes?

Does weight gain cause Diabetes or does Diabetes cause the weight gain?

On this website you will find a story about my Mom's experience, and also information about Type 2 Diabetes. I aim to answer all of these questions, and more.

Above Picture is Copyrighted by Hotbrain (Me) ~ Updated 5/28/2011

A Scary Thing

My Mom's Story

I know that the typical symptoms of diabetes are increased thirst and increased urination. However, sometimes these symptoms aren't recognized and diabetes goes unchecked until something scary happens.

In my Mom's case, that something scary happened. She fell down a couple of times and was unable to get up on her own.

After each time she fell, we helped her up. She is a heavy woman and it took a lot of effort and a long time to help her up. Finally we got her onto the couch.

However, she didn't have the muscle strength to get off of the couch. We set up a portable toilet next to the couch, but it would take her a long time to get the strength up to transfer to the toilet.

It was a very frustrating experience. We didn't know what was happening. Just a few days before she was walking around the house without assistance.

We thought maybe she had hurt herself from falling. Her caring daughter took her to the emergency room, and there they found out that she had high blood sugar, but they didn't do anything to treat it. So back home she was again, with the same mobility problems.

She got a doctor appointment for a few days later. Her daughters and I took turns staying with her. We didn't want to leave her alone because we were afraid that she would fall again. She wasn't sleeping much because her leg was hurting her. This was just making things worse and her ability to move was getting harder.

We didn't have a wheel chair that fit her, so she sat on the seat of her walker, and we pushed her around that way. Of course this is a bit dangerous.

We finally got to her doctor's appointment. I was so scared that she was going to have to go into a nursing home. It seemed that because of her immobility, people were wanting to take away her control and make decisions for her.

Her doctor arranged for her to be admitted into the hospital. This turned out to be a very good thing.

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Her Hospital Stay

My Mom doesn't like taking pain medicine. She doesn't like anything that alters her perception. But she couldn't sleep without it. So after a lot of convincing she agreed to take the pain medicine. Finally she was able to sleep.

They gave her medication for diabetes and insulin shots. She didn't like doing the insulin shots. Fortunately, the doctor found that pills alone could control her diabetes.

She had a variety of other tests done in the hospital, but the diabetes was the main problem they found.

Recovery

The hospital only allowed her to stay for three days. She needed outpatient physical therapy and although she was able to move around better in the hospital, there was still a lot of progress that had to be made.

It was recommended that she go into a full time care facility. Fortunately, a family member was able to take care of her in his home. They got a wheelchair and other medical equipment for her. She stayed with them for about 8 weeks. She had physical and occupational therapy. She started on a Diabetic diet and stayed compliant on her diabetic medication.

Slowly she became able to walk around with her walker. And by the time the 8 weeks was up, she could walk without her walker for short distances.

In her case, treating her diabetes helped her recover and regain her mobility.

Now she is home but we help her to continue to get better. We've learned about the Diabetic diet, and about testing her blood sugar levels. I take walks with her about 5 days a week. She is now able to walk with her walker for about a half hour. She goes slow but it's real progress.

How You Can Help a Loved One with Diabetes

- Exercise with them! Get them moving, whether that means walking outside or going shopping.

- Don't give them foods high in sugar or carbs. Please, no candy, cake, rolls, bagels, etc!

- Learn about diabetes.

- Ask them if they would like you to go to their doctor appointments with them.

- Check their feet for sores. Sometimes people with Diabetes have numbing in their feet and don't know if they have a sore or an infection.

- Help them monitor their blood glucose levels and become familiar with their normal levels. Contact a doctor if something changes.

Symptoms that may indicate Diabetes

However, people with Type 2 Diabetes may not have symptoms

* Frequent urination

* Unusual thirst

* Extreme hunger

* Unusual weight loss

* Extreme fatigue and Irritability

* Frequent infections

* Blurred vision

* Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal

* Tingling/numbness in the hands/feet

* Recurring skin, gum, or bladder infections

The Diabetic Diet - There is no one diet for everyone, but my Mom counts carbohydrates and avoids foods like this one!

Diabetics should avoid eating high carbohydrate foods, like this one.
Diabetics should avoid eating high carbohydrate foods, like this one.

Her doctor told her to eat about 40-60 grams of carbohydrates per meal. The exact number of carbohydrates that a person should eat probably varies from person to person. My Mom has found that when she eats pasta or potatoes, her blood glucose test results are higher than usual. This is why it's important to count carbs!

Get a Book on the Diabetic Diet

The Diabetes Diet: Dr. Bernstein's Low-Carbohydrate Solution
The Diabetes Diet: Dr. Bernstein's Low-Carbohydrate Solution

Click on "Buy Now" to read the reviews, and explore other books on diets for Diabetics. Understanding a loved one's diet is one of the most important ways you can help them. Especially if your family is like mine, and we like to bring over food when visiting Mom!

 

Glucose Levels

The desired blood glucose reading is different for each person, so it is best to ask your doctor what numbers you should be getting.

Even what qualifies as "normal" for someone without diabetes varies depending on the source of your information. There is a "truly normal" range and then a range that may indicate "early diabetes."

Here's what I've Found

Truly Normal

Morning (Fasting) 70-99 mg/dl

2-4 Hours After Meals 70-129 mg/dl

* Some sources say that a truly normal person's blood sugar doesn't usually go over 140, while other studies say that a glucose reading over 140 taken within 1 hour of a meal doesn't indicate any problems.

Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar) occurs at 70 or lower.

Hyperglycemia (High Blood Sugar) occurs at 200 or more.

For More Information:

Target Blood Glucose Levels in Diabetics

What is Normal Blood Glucose Levels?

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    • WildFacesGallery profile image

      Mona 6 years ago from Iowa

      Very good information on getting to understand diabetes. Honestly for me keeping my weight under a certain amount maintains my blood sugar levels. If I gain weight though I need meds. So diet and exercise are done daily. I also eat lots of whole foods (no much for processed) and swap whole grains whenever possible.

    • mariaamoroso profile image

      irenemaria 6 years ago from Sweden

      It is absolutely so, that it helps to get to know your enemy!