Diabetes is a disease that causes long-term suffering for the people afflicted, and diabetes treatment requires attention toward various details such as foods, medication, therapy, and exercise. If you take care of person with diabetes, or know someone who has diabetes, it is easy to pay attention to things like foods and medical therapies, but not the psychological aspects of that patient.
Unfortunately, we often have the wrong approach when it comes to communicating with diabetes patient. We probably say things that are unnecessary or hurtful, even without our knowledge. Make sure you know how to communicate well with a person with diabetes, and avoid saying things that can be hurtful.
Things Not to Say during Diabetes Treatment
When you are taking care of someone with diabetes, make sure to avoid saying these things:
Calling someone a “diabetic.”
Generally, calling someone “diabetic” sounds like labeling, and this can be hurtful or offensive for certain people. Some people may feel that they are being labeled, or being blamed for their condition, which is a natural thing to feel. Instead, use term “person with diabetes” or “have diabetes.”
Telling horror stories of other people with diabetes.
We often see this happens to people with certain conditions; their well-meant relatives or friends try to “ease their mind” by telling horror stories of other people with similar conditions, such as that time when someone they know lost their leg because of diabetes. Remember, people with diabetes can live without showing severe symptoms for years, thanks to advanced medical technology, healthy lifestyle, and increased awareness in diabetes treatment.
Giving condescending advice about foods.
People with diabetes understand that they have to pay attention to what they eat. Therefore, giving condescending advice or snide remarks such as “shouldn’t you eat that?” can be perceived as offensive. All diabetes treatment tips advise caretakers or family members to ease the journey of people with diabetes to healthy lifestyle. If you want to give advice, give it in positive, non-condescending tone, such as “I would suggest this stir-fry vegetable along with the fish. They are delicious and better option.”
Asking “why your blood sugar is high?”
People with diabetes already know that their blood sugar level is high. Emphasizing it by asking “what did you do to make your blood sugar level high” will not help the matter, and will make the person feels guilty or judged. Remember that blood sugar level can rise because of various reasons, not just from foods. Certain illness and stress can contribute to high level of blood sugar.
Telling people to not eating something sugary.
Continuously telling people with diabetes that “those foods are not sugar-free” will make them feel isolated. Just because a type of food is sugar-free, doesn’t mean that it cannot make the blood sugar level rises, because it may still contain carbohydrate. It is best for you to learn about proper intake of sugar and carbohydrate, and allow people with diabetes to consume small amount of dessert, for example, as long as it does not exceed the sugar and carb intake limit.
Psychological aspect is important in diabetes treatment, so make sure what you say will not hurt people who must live with diabetes.