Diabetes comes in two types — type 1 and type 2 — and occurs when your body is unable to break down sugars using insulin. Type 1 diabetes is most commonly hereditary, but people can still come into it at a later age.

For type 1 diabetes, the pancreas does not produce insulin at all and insulin must be administered in the form of a shot. For type 2 diabetes, the pancreas still produces insulin, but it just needs to be told when to start working. Type 2 diabetics jump start their insulin levels by taking pills before they eat.

People with diabetes have to live differently than those who do not have the disease. However, by living with someone who has diabetes, one begins to fall into similar habits. Here’s what it’s like:

Counting carbs


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People who watch their weight generally count their carbs. However, for diabetics it is a daily math problem. It’s easy when they eat something that has a label on it. How about 2 Oreo cookies? Just look at the label and you know each cookie has 7 grams of carbohydrates.

But what about their favorite dish at that local Mexican restaurant? There is not an exact measurement for dishes like these. Often times, gauging how much insulin your diabetic friend needs can be a guessing game.

Knowing the highs and the lows


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Everyone has their tell. The same goes for diabetics when they have a high or low blood sugar. A common way to tell if your diabetic friend has high blood sugar is if they are incredibly thirsty. If they can’t get enough water, then they should probably check their blood sugar and make necessary precautions. Another aspect of a high blood sugar may be that they feel incredibly hot.

Low blood sugar diabetics have differing tells. Sometimes the diabetic will seem out of breath and tired. After living with someone with type 1 diabetes, you learn their tells and immediately know how to help.

Smelling the aroma of insulin


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At first, insulin will have a powerful scent. It reminds me of the smell of hospitals (which no one really likes). But after a while, the smell loses its potency. Now, your diabetic friend can inject themselves with insulin and you won’t have to be reminded of your last emergency room visit.

Eating healthy


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Both type 1 and type 2 diabetics have to watch what they eat. First of all, they have to count carbs. However, it is also important for them to eat healthily.

Most people think that diabetics can’t have sweets. False! Type 1 diabetics can have cake or ice cream if they want. However, it has to be a small amount and it is better if the sweet treat has a decreased amount of sugar or carbs.

While living with a diabetic, you learn to like less sweet things. You also learn how to cut corners and not consume as many carbs. For example, a normal piece of bread has about 15 grams of carbs. By simply having an open-faced sandwich, you save yourself 15 carbs. You learn little tricks like these when you’ve got a type 1 diabetic guru by your side.

#SpoonTip: If you’re not into open-faced sandwiches, try one of these substitutes.

Finding test strips everywhere


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This pretty much sums up living with a diabetic. There are blood glucose test strips on the floor, on the couch and on your bed. Sometimes they even end up on the dog’s bed because they get attached to his fur. Test strips are completely safe and don’t hurt anything. However, they are a nuisance to clean up.