August 17, 2015

Diabetes is a family disease. Learn how the people closest to you can make or break healthy habits


Do you have a loved one diagnosed with diabetes? Family members can often influence a loved one’s care, either negatively or positively. A recent Vanderbilt study found families have a large influence on how well adults with diabetes take their medications and keep their blood glucose under control.

The following tips can help you show support for your loved one:

1. Remind loved ones to take their medicine when they go out to eat. “One of the things that was mentioned a lot was wives carrying snacks in their purses for their husbands in case they had a response to their medication where they felt shaky or weak,” study co-author Lindsay Mayberry said.

2. Read food labels together. The next time you’re at Harris Teeter or Piggly Wiggly, take the time to read and understand labels together and purchase healthy options for the whole family.

3. Carry extra medication. Family members can carry an extra medication dose in their purse or briefcase in case the patient forgets theirs.

The study found that when family members understood diabetes, the patients were more likely to feel supported. When family members didn’t offer support, those patients showed worse control of their blood glucose levels and were less likely to take their medicines as prescribed.

Study co-author Chandra Osborn, Ph.D., recalled one study participant saying: “I went to a picnic [and] my family knows that I have diabetes and a lot of my family members have diabetes. No one brought the Diet Coke.”

Osborne added, “That’s a very strong message to someone with diabetes.”


To schedule an appointment at the Eskind Diabetes Center call 615-343-8332 for adult care and 615-322-7842 for children’s care.