There's no doubt that diabetes can be hard on your health and how well you feel; however, it can also play a big role in other parts of your life, such as your marriage, finances and emotional well-being. Dealing with diabetes every day isn't easy, but you can make it easier. Here are six ways diabetes can affect your life and how you can manage them.
Managing the costs
Most people with diabetes spend two to three times more money on medical care than people without diabetes. How you manage the cost of your diabetes care will depend on your health insurance coverage, income and other life circumstances. To keep stress at a minimum, talk to your diabetes educator or doctor about ways to save money while getting the care you need and deserve.
Dealing with stress
Managing a chronic disease like diabetes is challenging. Minimize stress by setting realistic goals, then focus on the rewards of your actions, such as having more energy and control. Be sure to get support from other people by involving family, friends or a support group in your quest to reach your goals.
Protecting your marriage
Being diagnosed with diabetes is life-altering - not just for the person with diabetes, but also for loved ones and caregivers. Having support from your partner can make a big difference in how well you cope with the challenges of diabetes. If your needs aren't being met, let your partner know and discuss changes. Set aside time to be together without talking about diabetes and seek additional support so your spouse isn't your only sounding board.
Sticking to dietary changes
It's no fun being vigilant about everything you eat. However, contrary to popular belief, being a diabetic does not mean total deprivation. You can still enjoy so-called unhealthy foods, like chocolate and alcohol, in moderation. Try to stick with healthy dietary practices like measuring out portions and carb-counting. It's also important to recognize the rewards that come with vigilance, such as lower blood pressure, weight loss, better blood sugar and feeling more in control.
Deciding who needs to know you have diabetes can be a difficult decision. You may worry that friends will judge you, or that colleagues will lose respect for you because you have diabetes, but telling the right people can make a big difference in your diabetes care. Make a list of the people in your life who may need to help you in a medical emergency, then tell them about your diabetes and what to do in a hypoglycemic (high blood sugar) emergency.
Feeling in the mood
About half of all adults with diabetes are likely to develop some form of diabetes-related sexual complication. Men may have erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation and low testosterone. Women may experience vaginal dryness, low sex drive and painful intercourse. Keeping your A1c (a measure of blood sugar levels over time) at a healthy level, lowering your blood pressure, getting regular exercise and quitting smoking can help improve sexual function. Strengthening your relationship with your partner by talking to a licensed therapist or counselor may also improve your sex life.