How do I best support my partner with Type 1

I have been with my partner for two years and had never experienced Type 1 before. Needless to say I was a bit naive with dealing with it. I just assumed that as long as she kept taking the injections she would be fine.

Anyway her blood sugar has never been higher. I want to support her better. She has said that exercise and routine help which is fine but I was wondering if anyone could give me tips as to how I can best support her both practically and otherwise.

Many thanks

Thanks for reaching out to us…I wish more partners would! The reality is that most T1 partners struggle, because as much as you love her and want to help, this is a disease that is mostly self-managed. And since diabetes management is an hour-to-hour thing that is never far from our minds, most of us fall off the wagon or go into auto-pilot mode every so often.

So what can you do? It can’t hurt to gently ask how her blood glucose has been trending, with the definite vibe of “I can only imagine how frustrating this is” rather than “Are you behaving yourself?” It sounds like that is already your approach, so that is good. Another biggie is to try to be supportive around food intake. Most T1’s do better on a moderate- to low-carb eating plan, so trying to focus on that when you cook at home or request meals can be super helpful. That’s not to say we don’t want a treat sometimes, and there is no food we are per se banned from, but focusing on meat, eggs and veggies while minimizing bread, potatoes and fruit is best. Feel free to keep goodies at your work if you need to. She may not want to inconvenience you or make you suffer with her eating, so a little enthusiasm goes a long way.

And as she says, exercise is important, but it doesn’t need to be extreme. Even just joining her on a 20- to 30-minute walk each day often does the trick, and if you don’t feel like it, encourage her to go. Again, she may not want to inconvenience you or make her needs known, so if you take the initiative sometimes that will help.

And above all, if she has fallen off the wagon or is just going through the motions right now, just try to be there for her and give her a hug. This disease sucks and few of us are great at it all the time, especially during stressful periods. This is an interesting article that talks about 22 things that impact blood sugar…your body takes care of these things automatically, but she has to try to mimic things as best she can.

Thank you so much. Great advice. I’m just starting to realise how tough Type 1 is and I want to do my best to make coping with it as easy as possible for her