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The more you learn about diabetes, the easier your job as a caregiver will be.


Nearly seven percent of Americans have diabetes, a serious and increasingly common disease that often causes cardiovascular, vision and kidney disease. But while diabetes isn't curable, it is controllable. And good healthcare can prevent life-threatening complications.

Of the more than 14 million Americans diagnosed with diabetes, a small percentage have type 1 diabetes, which is caused by the body's failure to produce insulin, a hormone needed to regulate glucose in the body. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in childhood, and all those with type 1 diabetes require insulin injection (individual shots or via pump) to live.

Much more common is type 2 diabetes, which typically occurs in overweight, sedentary adults who have a family history of the disease. More than 18 percent of Americans over the age of 60 have type 2 diabetes, notes the American Diabetes Association. Those with type 2 diabetes have insulin resistance or insulin deficiency. Some take insulin; others manage their condition through diet or oral medications.

As the caregiver for someone with diabetes, find out everything you can about diabetes and how it affects the person in your care. "Diabetes is very individual," says Richard R. Rubin, PhD, CDE, president of healthcare and education, American Diabetes Association. "Some people take pills, some people take insulin injections, some take both," he says.

So what's your best first source of information? The person you care for. Then the person's healthcare provider, Dr. Rubin suggests. Also consider taking a class on diabetes at a local hospital.

Finally, accept your limits. "No one manages diabetes perfectly," says Dr. Rubin.

To help you manage your loved one's diabetes, check out these parts of Caring Today's special section, The Diabetes Caregiver:


Caregiving for diabetics

I am a caregiver for my husband of 31 yrs. He has diabetes for 50 yrs. I have a blog at and would like to invite anyone to read it and comment that would like to share. Thanks




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Newly diagnosed diabetes

My boyfriend of 10 years was diagnosed with diabetes officially yesterday. His mother was a very brittle diabetic and we've known for the last few months that this may be an issue. I lost my husband to AML (acute leukemia) after two years of intensive caregiving. I guess I just need to know how much I'm responsible for and how much he needs to take care of for himself. I am, of course, ready and willing to go to diabetes education and the doctor's office with him and already feed him very healthy meals. He's in denial right at the moment, which I assume is normal, but once we get past that, I guess I just don't know what's expected of me.