There are approximately 4.4 million people living with diabetes in the UK, with an additional estimated 1.2 million people living with undiagnosed diabetes.

This Diabetes Awareness Week, leading community care provider Radis Community Care is sharing exactly how to support a loved one living with the condition.

Providing visiting, live-in and complex care services to people living with diabetes across England and Wales, Radis is keen to raise awareness of the condition, aiming to help reduce the number of people living with diabetes undiagnosed.

  1. Be in the know

First things first. To get the correct and appropriate support, you must know and understand diabetes – which means understanding the symptoms and getting that all important diagnosis.

Symptoms of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can include:

  • Increased thirst and hunger
  • Frequent urination
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Slow healing wounds
  • Recurring infections
  • A numb and tingling sensation in hands and feet
  • Areas of darkened skin, usually under the arms or on the neck

If you or a loved are experiencing any of these symptoms, or are at greater risk of developing diabetes, then visit your GP to have the diagnosis confirmed.

  1. Management

It’s important that diabetes is managed correctly, and the way in which this is managed will differ depending on whether a person has type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

From oral medication and insulin that is administered via injections to regular, gentle exercise and having a balanced and nutritious diet, these are the main ways diabetes is managed.

For most people, they are able to live an independent life with little to no changes to their day-to-day once the condition is under control. However, for many people, diabetes could be one of multiple health problems, meaning that it may get forgotten about or they may not be able to manage the condition themselves.

If a person requires long-term care, then the care workers will work closely with each person to ensure that they are managing each and every health condition they live with. From providing round-the-clock care to fly-in visits to check and administer medication, a care team will ensure you are well looked after with a service tailored entirely to each individual.

  1. Ask for support

In some cases, diabetes can be complex, particularly when it is paired with other health issues and it can be quite overwhelming for friends and family to manage.

There are many care providers, support lines and charities that are available to offer support, advice or even offer short-term care so that friends, family and loved ones are able to take time away to care for themselves, too.

You can also ask health care professionals for help if you would like support administering insulin injections.

  1. Food

Food is the key to keeping diabetes under control, but some people may not be in a position to cook healthy, balanced meals themselves. So, if your friend or loved one lives with diabetes, then consider plating up an extra portion of food for them to ensure they are getting the nutrients they need.

Another way to support somebody, is to offer to help with their shopping and ensure they are buying foods that aren’t overly processed and items that are lower in sugar, salt, fat and saturated fat.

  1. Look out

There are a few other symptoms to look out for, that are signs that the condition is worsening or a person is about to go into a ‘hypo’ (hypoglycemia).

People with diabetes should check their feet on a regular basis – ask their healthcare provider how to do a thorough foot check and what you should be looking out for.

It’s also vital to be aware of how to spot and then treat a hypo (a bout of low blood sugar). The GP or the community care team can help provide you with all of the information you need in the event a friend or loved one suffers a hypo.

Diabetes is a long-term health condition, therefore it is important it is treated properly and that people understand the signs, symptoms and risks.

For more information or if you’d like to discuss the services available at Radis, please visit: www.radis.co.uk or email enquiries@radis.co.uk.

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