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Helping Friends to Understand Diabetes - Answers to 9 Common Questions

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Updated July 28, 2011

Helping Friends to Understand Diabetes - Answers to 9 Common Questions

Supportive friends make diabetes management much more doable.

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Replacing Myths with Real Answers:

Educating friends about your type 1 diabetes can be challenging. Many myths still exist about diabetes and you can do yourself a big favor by trying to replace those myths with accurate information. Here are nine of the most common questions your friends might be thinking and how you could answer them.

1. Why do you have to test your blood so often?

Answer: Because my body doesn’t make insulin, I have to manage my own blood sugar levels with food and insulin. The only way I can know what my blood sugar is at any given time is to do a blood glucose test.

2. Do you ever get used to giving yourself insulin shots?

Answer: Some days are better than others. I am used to the slight discomfort I experience when I give the injection. It only lasts a few seconds. The hardest part of having diabetes is the daily management. Sometimes it feels like a full-time job. Some days I just don’t feel like doing all the work that is needed. This is where friends like you can support and encourage me to keep taking care of myself.

3. Will you ever completely recover from diabetes?

Answer: Currently there is no cure for type 1 diabetes. There is a great amount of research being done to find a cure. But for now I have to focus my energy on managing my diabetes on a daily basis.

4. How do you deal with not being able to eat anything with sugar?

Answer: Eating foods with sugar does raise my blood glucose but if I eat sugar in small portions and take the correct amount of insulin I can eat what I want.

5. What did you do that caused you to get diabetes? I’ve heard that eating too much sugar can trigger diabetes?

Answer: I did not do anything to “cause” my type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, which means that for some yet unknown reason the body attacks the cells in the pancreas shutting off their ability to make insulin. Researchers are still trying to figure out what triggers this autoimmune response.

6. Should I call 911 if you ever experience a low blood sugar while I am with you?

Answer: I experience low blood sugar from time to time. But, these are not emergency situations. I simply need to get some fast-acting glucose in my system. That is why I always carry something with me in case I need a quick boost in my blood sugar. The only time when a low blood sugar would warrant a call to 911 is if I would go unconscious and be unable to take any glucose on my own.

7. Does having diabetes make you feel different from other people?

Answer: I sometimes do feel different from others. I have to do things like check my blood, give myself insulin shots and monitor my food intake every day -- things most people don’t ever think about. But I try to live as normally as possible and not let diabetes define who I am as a person. I have many interests and plans for my life just like anyone else. And if I manage my diabetes well, I have every hope that I can live a fully and satisfying life.

8. Do you want me to tell others that you have diabetes or keep it a secret?

Answer: My diabetes is not a secret. I freely tell some people that I have diabetes and choose to not tell others. I would prefer that you allow me to tell those I wish to know about my diabetes.

9. Since you live with diabetes every day, would you prefer that I don’t bring it up or ask you questions?

Answer: I want you to understand me and what diabetes is like. So, please ask questions. Friends who understand diabetes will feel more comfortable around me and be able to take my diabetes management in stride.

  1. About.com
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  3. Type 1 Diabetes
  4. Adults with Type 1
  5. Helping Friends to Understand Diabetes - How to Help Friends Understand Diabetes

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