If your loved ones are currently living with diabetes, it's important that they know how to manage their condition to lower their risk of heart disease and other serious complications. If you want to talk to your friends and family but you're not sure how to start, here are seven tips to start a meaningful conversation:
1. Help your loved ones find a healthcare provider they trust. Seeking professional help is the first step to preventing complications from diabetes.
2. Advise them to get seven to eight hours of sleep nightly. Studies have shown that people who sleep less than six hours have nearly two times the risk of developing heart disease.
3. Offer to go grocery shopping with them. Help your loved one stock up on diabetes-friendly foods like beans, fresh fruit, non-starchy vegetables, high-fiber foods, full-fat dairy, and plenty of lean protein.
4. Suggest taking a yoga or meditation class together. Taking the time to breathe, unwind, and relax can do your heart a lot of good. Stress can lead to dangerous blood clots that put a lot of pressure on your heart. Staying calm and collected can keep your heart healthy in the long run.
5. Encourage them to go online and fill out the ASCVD Risk Calculator. This tool, available from the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association, can help demonstrate how their diabetes plays a large role in their risk for developing heart disease later on.
6. Buy them a pill organizer. Not everybody with diabetes needs insulin – many can be managed with oral medications only. But being compliant with so many pills can be difficult! A simple pill organizer can help your loved one remember to take all of their medications every day, keeping their diabetes well-controlled.
7. Make sure they go to all of their follow-up appointments. Diabetes has many complications besides heart problems. Make sure your loved ones are regularly being seen by all of the different kinds of doctors their primary care physician recommends – especially an endocrinologist, podiatrist, ophthalmologist, and nephrologist.