Living With Type 2 Diabetes Is Family Affair
Family involvement is crucial to diabetes control.
By Daniel DeNoon
Reviewed By Brunilda Nazario
To change the world is to change the family.
-- psychologist Virginia Satir
Aug. 2, 2004 -- The world changes for people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. It means big changes for their families, too.
How well families cope with these changes can mean the difference between rapidly worsening disease and a relatively healthy life. It's an opportunity for families to strengthen their relationships with each other and to improve every member's overall health.
But it's going to take work, says Susan H. McDaniel, PhD, professor of psychiatry and associate chair of the department of family medicine at the University of Rochester School of Medicine, N.Y. McDaniel is the author of six books on family therapy, illness, and health.
"The family has to be involved in any chronic illness that has to be managed, but especially diabetes," McDaniels tells WebMD. "The illness demands are so great. The outcome is so uncertain. And the constant blood-sugar monitoring can be so stressful."
Like it or not, the family is automatically involved when one member has diabetes. But this involvement is not automatically a good thing.
"Family members can be resources and can be very supportive. They can also be a problem," McDaniel says.
Diabetes: A Family Illness
Three main things make type 2 diabetes a family illness: