How to love and support someone with diabetes

Educate yourself quote

Today we're throwing it back to some of our favorite advice on how to best support the person you love with diabetes. These tips come from our very own Medtronic Champions, shared last Valentine's Day.  

Amanda and her family My husband and I have been together quite some time, so I understand what it’s like to live with someone who has diabetes. The hardest part for me is that I don’t know what having diabetes feels like. When my husband is a little on the annoyed side because his blood sugar is high, I don’t always understand why my innocent question triggered a snap. I try hard to understand how things might affect his blood sugars, like did he have a stressful day at work? Are the kids making him run around way too much? Or, maybe it has nothing to do with his blood sugars and because he’s human, is he just having a bad day? 

I hope that if you have someone important in your life who you appreciate, you’ll share these tips/notes of affection with them.

Jill: “Learn about it. You are in this together.” 

Mary: “I know it can be hard living with me when my BS are low and high. I live with a disease, I try very hard to control! Please be patient and don’t nag me, because I love you.” 

David: “T1D can be very tough on both of us. Please know I won’t always be easy to live with but, our commitment to each other is the power we will use to be together for a long, long time. Thank you for what you do for me!” 

Troy: “BE PATIENT. We have good days and bad days and sometimes the bad days are really bad, so please be patient. We still love you and appreciate everything you do for us.” 

Kurt: “Listen before advising me, offer foods but don’t push, and walk this adventure by my side!” 

Phyllis: “I keep wanting to write a thank you, not a tip. Even though I have had diabetes for a long time, I still need help. If you think I have a low blood sugar or am acting funny, don’t assume I am aware of it. Ask me how I feel, or if I need juice, or suggest I check my blood sugar. Though don’t be alarmed if I snap, ‘I feel fine,’ but know after you say it I will do the right thing.” 

Nikki: “Educate yourself! Being knowledgeable about diabetes is the most helpful thing you could do for your partner.” 

Dan’elle: “I would have to say to them… Even when my mood is not at its best, remember to not take it personally because my diabetes is having an off day but I know you’ll stick with me no matter what and I still love you every day for doing so too!” 

Debi: “I can be mad, grumpy or emotional and not because of my blood sugar.” 

Karen: “Learn along with and from the person in your life on what they have to do, what to look for with a low or high BS, know what to do to care for them. Patience is a must from time to time.” 

Liisa: “There will be times when a person with diabetes’ sugar goes low and they say something or do something that will get their spouse very, very angry and frustrated. It should NEVER be taken as an insult or derogatory statement – SOME lows are completely uncontrollable. I have advised my husband to discuss such events with me well AFTER the fact!” 

Sarah: “Ask questions, don’t assume things. Pay attention to new treatments, studies and technology! It shows you care about me and my health.”

Have your own tips to share? Leave a comment!


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Submitted by catherine (not verified) on

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Great tips already noted! Here's mine: Having this sidekick since age 6 & now 50, I'd like to reinforce the following for partners, parents & friends of T1 diabetics: We will always need you & your POSITIVE & CONSTRUCTIVE support, but never criticize us f you feel we 'should have' avoided a low or high. I can assure you that we didn't want it, design it to happen or irresponsibly enable it. If you're confused or simply don't know how to assist, just say so! We love the sincerity! Chances are that your fabulous diabetic will thank you for your raw honesty than pretending you know what to say & do (aka be preachy). Knowing we have someone to walk with who is simply there is far better than walking alone or with someone misinformed.

Gr8 Post Amanda.
My Father is an diabetic and despite all the ups and down , he takes all the precaution and steps he could to live with this s disorder. Keeping BS in control is a challenge which he takes as and enjoy overcoming it. Very inspiring words from your post and stories shared.

My grandmother is diabetic and she is very prone to a foot infection and diabetic incontinence. We try to make her feel comfortable and happy. We usually gift her lots of usable things(incontinence briefs, diabetic socks and much more) which make her comfortable and easy. It's not easy to handle diabetes but These little efforts are the big reasons for their happiness. I really like this blog.

Submitted by Selim Reza (not verified) on

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Great article! By taking an interest in your loved one’s diabetes, whether type 1 diabetes or <a href="; rel="nofollow">type 2 diabetes</a> , is one thing; taking control is another. If you’re constantly telling them what to do or repeatedly admonishing them, they’ll see it as a challenge to their control, A take-charge attitude is rarely the kind of diabetes help your loved one is looking for.

Submitted by Lisa Howell (not verified) on

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When I was dating my now husband I asked him if my type1 diabetes scared him. He said
"No". I replied, "Then you don't know enough about it." We have moved ahead with eyes wide open. The only way to move forward.

Submitted by Lorrie Schwarz (not verified) on

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I have had type 1 diabetes since I was 15 I am know 56 my husband and I have been married for over 30 years and. it is really hard for him when I have lows because he knows he can’t stop the lows other then push in my case milk and I am just like a child when I have lows sometimes it seems like it’s a no win situation for him but I appreciate and love him that much more because he does have the patience to deal with me and I know that he is concerned about my health and I also realize how much he loves me because he could have decided at any time to leave and choose not to. Diabetes isn’t just the person dealing with it the entire family needs to be involved and aware of what it does to the family as a. Whole

Submitted by Riley (not verified) on

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I see all these nice stories about people who have loved ones who are caring enough to stay and deal with a t1d , what about those of us whose SO decided to desert and pair with someone not afflicted with such a condition, how to deal with this? Any ideas ,life is cruel !

Submitted by Kelly (not verified) on

In reply to by Riley (not verified)

I am currently in the same situation with my boyfriend. I am scared of what I might put myself through in this life, having to care for him so much i might forget to live my life.
I am so scared, any advice on what you did.,

Submitted by Tia (not verified) on

In reply to by Kelly (not verified)

Personally I would look for the highs rather than the lows in the future but still be aware of them and accept it. As long as you love them it shouldn't matter. I look at all of the wonderful things I'm going to do with my significant other and how much I will love them regardless of their disease. I don't look at it as if it will hold me back. If you're having these thoughts for a prolonged period of time, maybe that person isn't right for you. I have never once thought about how it would prevent me from living my life.

I don't always need advice about how to take care of myself. Sometimes its the circumstances that I'm put into. I am tired of dealing with my highs or lows ALONE. Sometimes its the reaction that irritates me the most!! Sometimes people need to LEARN what it takes to deal with this on a daily basis! Alot of times, I am treated like I am stupid and I'm far from it. I was 15 months old when I got this disease. I realize I don't always do the right thing, but its MY with it!! I need someone that wants to UNDERSTAND what it takes to live with this. Sometimes I wish a person could walk in my shoes to understand what happens.

Submitted by Danielle (not verified) on

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Firstly, I love my husband and he is a Type 1. We have been together for 17 years. He has been diabetic since he was 27. He is now 55. I knew what I was getting least I thought I knew. I have read article after article and blog after blog, but I keep seeing the same messages. I am not the diabetic police. My husband is vigilant with his testing, eating, exercise and staying up to date with the latest and greatest Diabetic technology. He wears the XXXX XXX and XXXXXX monitors. My issues are that he is so depressed and wants to give up. He is tired of this unforgiving and relentless disease. My heart breaks. All I do is support and love him. I listen and I try to make life as easy as possible for him. I have made sacrifice after sacrifice for the best medical care and living conditions. He loves me back. He fights the demons of this disease every day/hour/minute. He does not want psychological help. He claims that he has spent at least a decade in therapy for his disease before we met. It did not help him then, and it won't help him now. He is angry....I get it...He loves and appreciates me, but I am breaking down. I am so sad for him. I love him so much. I do not know where to turn. How can I help him?


How are you?
Your story realky touched me. Well written.
I'm sorry you and your husband are going through this.

I too am experiencing the same with my boyfriend. My heart breaks for him as well.
He is also depressed and fed up with his disease.

I feel so helpless.

I love him so very much.

You wrote this is June.
Have things improved? Any advice?


My son is 19 had been diagnosed since high school 3 yes ago...he has stopped taking his meds/insulin and no blood sugar checks..this is so depression. He is in total denial...I'm praying daily for him...

Submitted by Ilivewithandlo… (not verified) on

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All you can do is to continue loving him.

He is correct about the talk therapy, it changes nothing. If you live in the U.S., there is almost a tyrannical amount of pressure for people to be constantly happy. This is an unrealistic battle in and of itself, especially for people who are struggling with health issues.

Acceptance of the situation is key here. There are going to be times that he is depressed, angry, feeling hopeless. There will be times that you feel the same way. Loving him means continuing to support him in the ways you have been for years. I hope he expresses his appreciation for you.

But that doesn't mean that you should neglect you own needs. If you think you might benefit from talk therapy, by all means, seek somebody out. If you have hobbies that distract you, definitely indulge. If bringing a caregiver into your home to give you some relief would help the two of you, then talk to his doctor about that possibility. Also, if your husband needs personal space, i.e., his own bedroom or man cave, etc., go ahead and set that up. That would in turn give you personal space...a win / win.

There unfortunately will be no easy fixes, but I hope those ideas will offer some relief.

Submitted by rohit (not verified) on

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thanks for the information

Submitted by Mbali (not verified) on

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My grandma is diabetic and she doesn't eat wel lately and her legs are sore

Submitted by Annon (not verified) on

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I've been with my husband for 10 years (married for 4) and he has taken a real back-step with his diabetes and mental health recently. I try not to judge but I watch him drink on an empty stomach (which resulted in a bad hypo), gets mad at me if I suggest that bringing up his blood sugars with a cider is probably not the best and see him refuse food all day until dinner time. He is 47 and has had type 1 since he was around 10. He is quite an angry man in general but a lot of it also stems from a very unhappy childhood with a bully for a Father. This mixed in with the diabetes at the moment is a nightmare and I fear he won't be with us much longer. I have no idea where to go from here

Thank you Amanda for this post, and individuals should not go through diabetes alone as the help and love could make their life comfortable.

Your article on offering adoration and backing to somebody with diabetes, highlighted on the Medtronic Diabetes Circle Blog, is an endearing and wise read. I value how you've moved toward this subject with sympathy and understanding, perceiving the special difficulties people with diabetes face and the urgent job that help from friends and family plays in their excursion.

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