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Diabetes & Its Emotional & Financial Effects on a Family


Mazlan has a passion for health and fitness and is into yoga, cycling, home workouts, and healthy food

Diabetes Runs in the Family

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

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

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

Insulin needle for the daily injection, if you suffer from diabetes T1

Insulin needle for the daily injection, if you suffer from diabetes T1

Living with Diabetes

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

They say that diabetes T2 is a disease for life and there is no cure for it. This is another reason for Anna to feel depressed.

(Note: There are reports, however, that claimed to have a cure for diabetes, through natural remedies and through stem-cell treatment. Talk to your doctor on these alternative treatments)

Types of Diabetes

There are three types: Type 1, which is insulin-dependent diabetes; Type 2, which is non-insulin dependent diabetes; and Gestational diabetes, which is carbohydrate intolerance.

Diabetes Type 1

The body's insulin-producing cells in the pancreas are destroyed and patients have to inject themselves with insulin daily. Occur mostly in children, but can also occur to people of any age.

Diabetes Type 2

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

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. It can increase problems for both mothers and babies.

Diagnosed with Diabetes

Anna had seen both her father-in-law and brother-in-law taking medications and changing diets and lifestyle. These exposures had in some way given her a bit of knowledge on diabetes.

This came in handy when diabetes struck her own husband. However, her initial reaction was whether she can cope up with this unnecessary burden.

Diabetes and Family Support

She is, however, 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.

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 learn to make adjustments.

Diabetes and Stress

Wong 'I don't care' attitude also make it difficult for Anna. She had to monitor his medication, encourage him to adapt to a new lifestyle, change his diet, and go for frequent brisk walk.

These added additional pressures on her, and it can be quite challenging. Quitting her job is out of the question, they both need the additional income. They have also started to save, for future medical bills!

A diabetes blood test, to check blood sugar control

A diabetes blood test, to check blood sugar control

Diabetes Cost

Saving for Future Medical Cost

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

Products with Phthalates

Products that we used daily such as deodorants and colognes may have an ingredient, phthalates. As reported in the journal, Environmental Health Perspectives, this can give you higher chances of developing diabetes.

To reduce this exposure, buy fragrance-free products, which have lower level of this life-threatening ingredient. If you cannot help it, then eat plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits.

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 attend with her husband for the doctor's appointment.

The time spent on these doctor's appointments, additional time spent with the kids and time spent to learn more on 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 got to be strong to handle it.

Diabetic Diet and Other Changes in Lifestyle

Wong and the family started to adjust to the new lifestyle and the things that they do are:

  • Anna learnt to buy and cook diabetic friendly food
  • She joined Wong in his brisk morning walk. Sometimes, even the two boys will tag along

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

Diabetes and Marriage

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 illness 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.

Diabetes can also affect your feline family member, the cat

Diabetes can also affect your feline family member, the cat

Economic Impact of Diabetes

About 24 million Americans have diabetes and this number keep increasing. America spent $116 billion in 2012 for medication and it costs the country about $58 billion due to lost in productivity, disability, and death.

Diabetes Information

If a diabetic patient and their family members know more about the disease, and what to expect, 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 level. This can make a diabetic patient irritable or have strong mood swing. Hence, it can affect relationship with their spouse, children, friends, and other family members.

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

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 family of diabetic patients. You may want to check their websites for more information.

Go for free seminar and join support group for diabetes

Go for free seminar and join support group for diabetes

Diabetes Support

Some families are able to cope with the pressure of having a diabetic patient in their family, whilst some, 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 recommended that you 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.

References and Resources

Diabetes Support Group

Coping with Your Diabetes Diagnosis


Mazlan (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 (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 (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 (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 (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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