Diabetes Type 2

Home and social life

Family members were often involved in the lifestyle changes that people made after they were diagnosed with diabetes. Many people said that their spouses, partners and children were essential in helping them, and motivating them to keep their diabetes under control. Often the whole family made changes to their diet, and several people thought there had been benefits from doing this. Some involved their younger children or grandchildren when they were doing their blood glucose tests, taking their medication or injections, so that managing diabetes became a natural part of family life. 

However when people were in denial about their diabetes, it was difficult for families to know what to do. 

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Parents said they educated their children about their diet and lifestyle, and encouraged them to eat healthily and to take more exercise, hoping that it might reduce their chance of getting diabetes. 

Some were keen to ensure that any sign of diabetes in their children would be picked up quickly. One father encouraged his children to be tested regularly because he believed getting diagnosed early had minimised the impact diabetes had on his health.

Social Life
Diabetes had little effect on most people's social life. Many had learnt to manage their diabetes so that it didn't affect their ability to eat out in restaurants, at friends' houses, or in social gatherings. Some people said they only had small amounts of food and were careful to avoid sweet or spicy foods (as these are often high in sugar, salt and fat. Spices are not on their own bad for you). Others said that they only ate out occasionally so they felt the odd indulgence was okay. A few people found other's reactions and lack of understanding difficult, which made it harder to keep within their diabetic guidelines and they suffered for it the next day. Adjusting to less alcohol at social gatherings was difficult for some. 

People who took insulin also had to manage blood glucose testing and giving themselves injections when eating out. Some people gave themselves an injection discreetly while at the dinner table. Others took their insulin in the car, on the bus or in another room. When eating out, some people asked for bread so that they could eat quickly after having taken insulin just in case the food didn't arrive on time. Some said that checking blood glucose levels was trickier than giving themselves injections when out socialising. One man said that cleaning the injection site beforehand was the most awkward thing to do. One woman found it hard to refuse the wrong type of food when visiting Pakistan, so on her doctor's advice, she took extra doses of insulin instead.

Travelling abroad had not posed a problem for many people. One man made sure he took twice the amount of medicine he needed and spread it across several suitcases. Having a letter from his doctor explaining his medicine had helped when he was going through customs.

Last reviewed March 2016.

Last updated September 2010.


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