Facing Diabetes Together

Help your loved one live successfully with diabetes -- without harming your relationship or compromising your own health.

A Different Reaction

As a diabetes professional, Lynn Sutton, R.D., CDE, knows all too well the challenges and complications of the disease. When her husband, Terry, 55, was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes more than three years ago, Lynn was shocked.

"I felt responsible for his health," says Lynn, 50, of Bethlehem, New York. "I kept wondering how I could have a husband with such high blood glucose."

But what Lynn perceived as being helpful -- offering education and information -- Terry saw as nagging. Some nights, Lynn would come home to find empty fast-food french fry boxes and potato chip tubes. That's when she began taking a more subtle approach. She stopped talking about how Terry was handling his diabetes and simply began buying more healthful foods.

A partner's fear and worry about a loved one who has diabetes can often be translated into criticism and nagging, which puts everyone on the defensive. The result is a contentious relationship where genuine concerns go ignored.

"Being diagnosed with diabetes puts a person in the stages of grief, but caregivers often go through those stages, too," says Liz Bello, R.D., L.D., CDE, director of diabetes education at Diabetes America. "Sometimes people with diabetes take their condition in stride, while it's the caregivers who take longer to cope."

"Being diagnosed with diabetes puts a person in the stages of grief, but caregivers often go through those stages, too," says Liz Bello, R.D., L.D., CDE, director of diabetes education at Diabetes America. "Sometimes people with diabetes take their condition in stride, while it's the caregivers who take longer to cope."

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