emotional health


The Impact of Living with Diabetes

•  The impact of living with diabetes varies with individuals. Some experience few difficulties, while others feel diabetes is a threat to their lifestyle.

The demands of the diabetes regimen can be considerable and overwhelming. It may be difficult for friends and family members to fully appreciate these demands (eg. Insulin injections, blood glucose monitoring, dietary restrictions, scheduling concerns, treatment of hypoglycemia, and the need to make routine decisions regarding these concerns).

The fear of hypoglycemia frequently is expressed as one of the greatest worries of persons with diabetes. Severe hypoglycemia reduces independence, and even mild reactions can create a feeling of loss of control. Persons who have had diabetes for a number of years often find that the epinephrine response decreases over time, thus miniminzing warning signals that the blood glucose level has dropped. As a result, the patient may fail to treat hypoglycemia in the early stages. The fear of hypoglycemia is magnified for those who live alone, especially the elderly who may be trying to maintain independent living.

Personal relationships can be affected by diabetes. Difficulties that already exist in a relationship may become more intense. Diabetes may prove a source of frustration, sadness, and occasional embarrassment to family memebers or friends. There is a tendency for others to assume that changes in mood are related to blood glucose levels and to sometimes discount legitimate feelings. When patients are irritable during periods of low or high blood sugars, family and friends may msinterpret these actions and take them personally.

Diabetes can become a tool for manipulation, especially if others are not educated about the disease.

Marriages may be strained when a spouse or child is diagnosed with diabetes. Underlying issues may get ignored because of the energy focused on the disease.
Educational Treatment Unit
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