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Diabetes and Its Emotional and Financial Impact on Family

Sharing issues about health that he or close family members and friends had experienced.

How to help and care for someone with diabetes?

How to help and care for someone with diabetes?

Diabetes and Family

When a friend was diagnosed with diabetes type 2 he wasn't surprised as it runs in the family. Both his father and eldest brother had diabetes.

The news, however, affected the wife. Although she was depressed initially, she later learned to adjust and came out stronger.

How to Care for Someone With Diabetes

Find out how diabetes affected the Wong family and how they cope and seek support.


  • Living with Diabetes
  • Diabetes Symptoms
  • Types of Diabetes
  • What Are Some Risk Factors for Developing Diabetes?
  • Diagnosed with Diabetes
  • Diabetes and Family Support
  • How to Help Someone With Diabetes?
  • Diabetes and Stress
  • Diabetes Cost
  • Time Spent
  • Diabetic Diet and Other Lifestyle Changes for Diabetes
  • Diabetes and Relationships
  • How to Prevent or Lessen Your Risk of Diabetes if It Runs in Your Family?
  • Diabetes Information and Support
  • Global Economic Impact of Diabetes
  • Diabetes Association
  • Diabetes Support Groups
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • References and Resources

Living with Diabetes

Wong's father died of diabetes and his eldest brother lost a toe, due to diabetes. So it was understandable for Wong's wife, Anna, to be worried.

Is There a Cure for Diabetes?

Based on this WebMD report, there is no cure for diabetes. It is a disease for life. However, in some cases, lifestyle changes can see remission in type 2 diabetes.

What is the Treatment for Diabetes?

Treatment is basically lifestyle changes: diet control, exercise, testing your daily glucose level, some medication, and insulin.

Diabetes Symptoms

Check if you have any of the above diabetes symptoms and seek medical help.

Check if you have any of the above diabetes symptoms and seek medical help.

Types of Diabetes

There are three types of Diabetes:

  • Type 1, which is insulin-dependent diabetes.
  • Type 2, which is non-insulin-dependent diabetes.
  • Gestational diabetes, which is carbohydrate intolerance.

Diabetes Type 1

Diabetes Type 1, also known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes is a condition where the body's insulin-producing cells in the pancreas are destroyed and patients have to inject themselves with insulin daily. This type of diabetes occurs mostly in children but adults can also get it

Diabetes Type 2

T2 is the most common diabetes and is generally genetic in origin caused by the inability of cells to use insulin properly. This can also occur due to a poor lifestyle.

It occurs mostly in older adults but obese children have been known to also be infected with Diabetes Type 2.

Gestational Diabetes

Develop during pregnancy and generally occur in women with a family history of diabetes that are obese and of a late maternal age but usually disappear after birth. It can increase problems for both mothers and babies. If it is detected early and the problem is well managed, the risk to both mother and baby can be reduced.

What Are Some Risk Factors for Developing Diabetes?

Take note of these risk factors

Take note of these risk factors

Diagnosed with Diabetes

Anna had seen both her father-in-law and brother-in-law taking medications and changing diets and lifestyles. These exposures helped as they gave her some knowledge on diabetes. However, her initial reaction was whether she can cope up with this unnecessary burden

Diabetes and Family Support

She is lucky to have her own parents to turn to for help as initially she could not discuss her fear of diabetes with her husband.

Religion and Support

Although born a Buddhist, she was not practicing it. Her parents encouraged her to turn to religion for comfort and guidance.

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It was here that she finally found peace. It gave her the courage to talk and discuss her anxiety with her husband. She also slowly opens up to friends and relatives.

She also learns to accept her family's fate and learns to make adjustments.

How to Help Someone With Diabetes?

How to help someone with diabetes? Follow some of the above tips

How to help someone with diabetes? Follow some of the above tips

Diabetes and Stress

Even with Wong’s difficult attitude, Anna managed to encourage him to adapt to a new lifestyle. She was able to monitor his medication, change his diet, and go for frequent brisk walks.

Social Impacts of Diabetes

It was quite challenging initially and the thought of quitting her job is out of the question. They both need the money. They have also started to save for future medical bills!

They also had to make adjustments to their social life - fewer pub visits, controlled eating at social gatherings, etc.

Diabetes Cost

The ongoing diabetic treatments, which include the Hemoglobin A1c test, blood test strips, devices, medications, etc can ultimately add up to a lot. If you are not covered by medical insurance, you need to save now.

Saving for Future Medical Cost

For now, medical costs are through Wong’s company medical coverage. He did not take up any medical insurance and will have to save for future expenses for his retirement days.

Infographic Diabetes and Its Emotional and Financial Impact on a Family

Infographic Diabetes and Its Emotional and Financial Impact on a Family

Time Spent

During the initial months of the diagnosis, there were frequent doctor's appointments. Anna was determined to know more and took leave to also attend the doctor's appointments.

The time spent on these doctor's appointments, additional time spent with the kids, and time spent to learn more about the needs of a diabetic patient, are some of the sacrifices a family member has to make.

Diabetes is a Full-Time Job

She is committed and determined to give support to Wong. In addition, she also had to attend to the needs of their two boys and to her own emotional needs. These challenges had turned Anna into a stronger woman.

They say that diabetes is a full-time job. It is and you have to be strong to handle it.

Diabetic Diet and Other Lifestyle Changes for Diabetes

Wong and the family made adjustments to suit their new lifestyle, which includes:

  • Anna learned to buy and cook diabetic-friendly food
  • She joined Wong in his brisk morning walk. Even the two boys sometimes tag along.

These changes and adjustments to the new lifestyle were not easy initially, but they persevered.

Diabetes and Relationships

Despite the pressure and the pain that they went through, their marriage relationship remains strong.

Some relationships may not be so lucky. They may need a counselor that specializes in illnesses such as diabetes to come in and help. Coping with the pressures and knowing how to handle every situation may be tough. A counselor can help them deal with all these situations.

How to Prevent or Lessen Your Risk of Diabetes if It Runs in Your Family?

Educate yourself on diabetes to reduce your risk of getting it.

Educate yourself on diabetes to reduce your risk of getting it.

Diabetes Information and Support

If a diabetic patient and their family members know more about the disease, what to expect, and other related diabetic matters, it will be easier to manage a situation.

For example, emotional stress can release hormones that may neutralize the effect of insulin. This can disrupt blood sugar levels making a diabetic patient irritable or having a strong mood swing. It can affect relationships with their spouse, children, friends, and other family members.

Support for Diabetics

There are free seminars, talks, or counseling services that family members can attend. Ask your doctor for more information on these. All this information and knowing more about diabetes will help you understand the emotional and mental stress that your loved one goes through. This, in turn, will help you too.

Global Economic Impact of Diabetes

Based on a Harvard University report published on April 26, 2017, the global economic cost of diabetes is about US$1.3 trillion and over 420 million adults are living with diabetes. These numbers keep increasing and the affected countries also lose in terms of lost productivity, disability, and death.

These significant economic burdens from diabetes are large and based on this report by the American Diabetes Association, it will substantially increase by 2030. This report urged policymakers to take immediate action to mitigate these effects.

Diabetes Association

The following are links to a few of the Diabetes Associations in the world. Some of these associations offer support and counseling services to patients and families of diabetic patients. You may want to check their websites for more information.

Diabetes Support Groups

Some families can cope with the pressure of a diabetic patient in their family. Others may not. Whichever is the situation, seek help and support early.

Your parents, friends, and doctors are avenues to get support and encouragement. It is also a good idea to go beyond these networks.

Join a diabetes support group, online or at your local centers. You will gain invaluable information on how others are coping and adjusting to the effects of diabetes on their family. Share and connect with them. They understand the difficulties and emotions that you are experiencing.

Frequently Asked Questions

These are some of the FAQs on diabetes that may be of interest:

How Can I Save for Future Medical Expenses on Diabetes?

The best way is to buy medical insurance.

What Are the Emotional Effects of Diabetes?

People suffering from diabetes often have sleeping disorders, feel helpless, regretful, frustrated, angry, and have other negative emotional feelings.

What Are the Effects of Prolonged Stress and Diabetes Anxiety on a Diabetic Person?

Constant diabetes and stress anxiety can wear a diabetic down both physically and mentally. This makes managing diabetes difficult for both the caregiver and the patient.

What Do Caregivers Need to Know About Diabetes?

Caregivers should:

  • Learn about diabetes and the medication.
  • Educate themselves on how diabetes works.
  • Create a support team or team effort with family members or close friends.
  • Adjust to their new lifestyle and know when to step back.
  • Keep calm and help reduce stress and tension.
  • If required, talk freely about any bedroom issues.

Can a Diabetic Eat Bananas?

Yes, but in moderation and not the overripe bananas.

Can Diabetics Eat Watermelon?

It is usually safe for diabetic to eat watermelon as part of their diet but to take in moderation as watermelon has a high glycemic index i.e. there will be a quick rise in blood sugar after it is consumed.

What Are the Low Sugar Fruits for Diabetics?

Some of the other low sugar fruits suitable for diabetes are kiwis, lemons, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, grapefruit, oranges, and avocado.

References and Resources

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2012 Mazlan A


Mazlan A (author) from Malaysia on June 18, 2012:

Om, thanks for your input. Type 2 diabetes is the most common, and from reports, Asians tend to get T2 rather than T1. Probably due to our rice and very sweet desserts!!

Om Paramapoonya on June 18, 2012:

Nice hub with lots of useful advice! I'm from a family of type 2 diabetes myself. I agree that diabetics need to adjust their diets and lifestyles instead of solely relying on medications. Diabetics who can keep their blood sugar under control and avoid diabetes complications tend to be those who are on a low-carb diet and exercise regularly.

Mazlan A (author) from Malaysia on June 18, 2012:

@teaches12345 . Thank you. I too, hope others will find this article useful.

Dianna Mendez on June 18, 2012:

Great write up on diabetes and effects on those in the family. I do have family members with this disease and know the problems that can arise from this. This will help many people.

Mazlan A (author) from Malaysia on June 18, 2012:

@rfmoran Thanks for your feedback

Russ Moran - The Write Stuff from Long Island, New York on June 18, 2012:

Solid advice for those afflicted with diabetes.

Mazlan A (author) from Malaysia on June 18, 2012:

@dinkan53 . I hope this article on diabetes and its effect on the family will be of help to your brother. Thank you for sharing.

Mazlan A (author) from Malaysia on June 18, 2012:

@leahlefler, Thanks for dropping by and sharing your own personal experience. I read before that you exercise. So with your proper diet plus exercise, you are going in the right direction. Keep it up.

Leah Lefler from Western New York on June 18, 2012:

Diabetes (type 2) runs in my family, so we are very careful about eating healthy foods. We're focusing on prevention and hoping it helps! Type 1 is generally not preventable in any way, but good medical care can really help.

dinkan53 from India on June 17, 2012:

My brother came to know that he is diabetic a couple of weeks ago…this will be really beneficial for him, and of course for others. Forwarding this hub to my brother and rated it as useful.

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