UNC Health Care

Managing Type 2 Diabetes Together

If a spouse, partner or other immediate family member has type 2 diabetes; it can be beneficial for everyone to learn more about the condition. Type 2 diabetes can have a substantial impact on individuals and their partners, facing complex reactions to the condition.

Here are some ideas to help you and your loved one make healthy lifestyle changes together.

  1. Be active. Exercise plays an essential role in managing or preventing type 2 diabetes. Whether it’s riding a tandem bicycle around town or kayaking on a lake, find a fun, social activity that you both enjoy. This will allow the two of you to get fit in a healthy, happy manner. In addition, physical activity can be spread throughout the day. Try taking regular walks together. Moderate workouts can help control your blood sugar, lower blood pressure and reduce stress.
  1. Eat well. Eating healthy starts at the grocery store. By shopping together you both may be more prone to select healthy foods than when shopping by yourself. Fill up on whole grains, fiber-rich foods, veggies and nuts. Aim to reduce the consumption of foods high in saturated fats and trans fats, such as fried foods, cakes, cookies, crackers and fatty cuts of meat.
  1. Support each other. Living with type 2 diabetes has its ups and downs with monitoring blood glucose and making changes to your diet and/or medications. Research shows that partners who provide social support for one another enables positivity. Having someone on your side makes it easier to manage diabetes, staying on track along with relieving stress.
  • couple with diabetes assisting each other with blood testing.
    Support for one another enables positivity, as well as making it easier to manage diabetes, staying on track along with relieving stress.

    Remind each other to check your blood sugar levels and take your medications at recommended times.

  • Discuss how to handle a diabetes-related emergency or complications a head of time. Having a prepared emergency plan can reduce the amount of physical and emotional stress for you and your loved one.

Not only is it important to seek support from each other, but finding help from a professional outside source will ensure that you’re making the best health decisions. Try joining a diabetes support group or a diabetes education program.

Woman with diabetes taking a blood drop sample
Diabetes can be managed with the right approach to lifestyle changes.

Take a free online diabetes health assessment and receive a report of your risk factors and recommendations for improving and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

For more information on how you and your loved one can manage diabetes together, ask your physician for a referral to UNC REX Diabetes Education Center.

*This article was updated in November 2017 to emphasize that these tips are designed for people with type 2 diabetes.