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Explaining Diabetes to a Roommate

People often hesitate telling others about their diabetes.  This can be because of fears about meeting new people and feeling different from others, or previous bad experiences with friends and diabetes management, according to Elizabeth Quinlan, R.N., B.S.N, Pediatric and Adolescent Nurse at Joslin Diabetes Center.

You don’t need to tell the world about your diabetes, but explaining diabetes to a roommate is extremely important for your safety and for your relationship.

Importance of Explaining Diabetes to a Roommate

The primary reason for explaining your diabetes to a roommate is safety, Quinlan says.  Your roommate can be the first line of defense when it comes to managing extreme hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia.

It’s also crucial to be open about your diabetes and to explain the day-to-day management of diabetes, so your roommate feels comfortable, Quinlan says.  Be forthright and honest from the start, so you both feel at ease with the situation.

What to Explain to a Roommate About Diabetes

You should first explain that diabetes is a manageable condition that is not inhibiting or dangerous, unless you don’t properly care for it, she says.  It’s also important to demonstrate how you check your blood glucose, how you administer your insulin, and when you do it, so your roommate won’t be shocked.

Other important things about diabetes to go over with your roommate include:

  • Describe how meal planning works for certain individuals
  • Describe differences between low and high blood glucose
  • Explain when you need a hypoglycemia treatment
  • Demonstrate how and when to use a glucagon kit
  • Review emergency contact list

Encourage and answer questions your roommate might have about diabetes, so that you both feel comfortable and can create a supportive relationship in your new living environment.

Page last updated: September 20, 2019