Expert-reviewed by Ashwini S.Kanade, Registered Dietician and Certified Diabetes Educator with 17 years of experience
Once you are diagnosed with diabetes, it is your decision when and whom to inform about it. There are some situations, however, in which sharing this information is necessary. Certain people, such as your partner, definitely need to be in the loop.
In some other situations, such as at your workplace, you don’t need to share this detail. Yet it is practical and safe to share this crucial fact with people you regularly interact with, especially if you’re planning to travel with others, participate in an athletic event, or attend a large social gathering.
So how do you know when it is important to share this information and when you can skip talking about it?
We guide you with some pointers on situations where it makes sense to share your diabetic status:
1. With your life partner
If you’re in a serious relationship or going to get married, it is good to include this during your conversation. Don’t skim over this part, because it allows your potential partner to understand what they’re signing up for. Managing diabetes is now easy, with the guidance of the medical community, lifestyle services such as apps and educational websites such as ours. Nevertheless, it is always best to inform your partner.
If you are married, update your partner about your health issues on a regular basis. They can be your greatest ally in managing diabetes when it comes to diet, regular exercise and even routine check-ups.
Note: If this news is not what they’re expecting, keep some material handy to address their fears and answer their questions in a straightforward, educative fashion. Simply saying, “Don’t worry!” is very counterproductive.
2. At your workplace
In today’s day and age, we often spend more time with our colleagues than with our loved ones. There is so much that stretches your day to long working hours – meetings, conference calls, brainstorming on projects together and more. In such a situation, it is crucial that others are aware of your need to eat regularly to maintain your blood sugar levels. This means arranging diabetic-friendly food at sensible intervals. Refreshments like tea or coffee should have sugar free alternatives available and there should be adequate breaks during long meetings.
Note: Carry or order your own snacks and keep some sugar-free sweetener for your tea or coffee. This will avoid the need for sugar or sweet if sugar-free sweeteners are not available at short notice. This is especially important if the meetings are being held outside the office where you cannot rely on getting these when required.
3. On a long tour or trip
A busy work-life also means travel, often frequent journeys at odd hours of the day and this can upset your diet and exercise schedule. Entrust your travel partner, whether colleagues or assistants who may be journeying with you, with a list of facts that they can prepare for in advance. Let them know what to do in case of an emergency or how to help you if your blood sugar levels sink. It can be an invaluable piece of information in the long run.
Note: Keep track of how many hours you have slept and what you’ve eaten during the day. Hectic travel can mean early flights and late nights where it is easy to forget when you last ate something substantial. Don’t hesitate to share this information with your colleagues so that they are aware of exactly how alright or vulnerable you are.
4. An athletic event or social gathering
It is encouraging to note that more people with diabetes are regularly working on their fitness and don’t let their condition affect their lifestyle choices. Whether you decide to run a marathon, go hiking or attend your relative’s 4-day long wedding, don’t forget to let your companions know what to do if you suddenly feel tired or feel physically uncomfortable.
Note: Hand them a list of emergency contacts or the names of medications in your backpack or pocket that they may need to administer if your insulin levels go haywire. Do this with a bit of humour and reassure them that it is unlikely anything will go wrong. You want to inspire confidence in their dependability, not make them anxious about your health.
Having diabetes is just another fact of your life. You can help others adjust to this without being anxious or panicking if a situation crops up. Having certain key people clued into your specific diabetes-related needs can be great for everyone involved and further cement relationships.