Diabetes in adolescents: the role of parents and doctors

It is not always easy to control the course of diabetes even for an adult, but if it is adolescents who have recently detected this disease, the task becomes even more difficult. For many reasons, it can be difficult for a child to independently control their blood sugar, monitor their health, and spend a lot of time on proper body care. Therefore, in the initial stages, the role of parents is great, the help and advice of a physician is necessary in order to learn how to live with your illness.  

Problems of adolescents with this pathology

Teenagers have too many distractions in their lives: school, friends, family, social networking and many other activities. And when there are ailments, disturbing symptoms that indicate a disease, many adolescents simply do not pay attention to them until the manifestations become obvious to parents or teachers, or critical conditions arise. Then, when referring to a doctor, high blood sugar is detected, and after numerous diagnostic measures, diabetes is determined.

Many teenagers are not ready to accept their pathology, they just want the disease to disappear, they act as if the disease does not exist. That is why only about 20% of adolescents with diabetes juvenile type, the concentration of hemoglobin A1c target corresponds to the recommendations. This indicator shows the average concentration of sugar in the blood, which was maintained in the plasma of the previous approximately 80-90 days. If we are talking about type 2 diabetes, due to inadequate control, many obese adolescents do not lose a significant amount of weight.  

The risk of diabetes in adolescence

Numerous distractions in adolescents’ lives can lead to serious and sometimes life-threatening consequences that diabetes generates. So, they may not pay close attention to nutrition and the introduction of insulin, as well as frequent measurement of sugar in the blood, do not compare their physical activity with the level of glycemia, medication and food. When using an insulin pump, they can casually monitor the performance of the device, which ultimately threatens with diabetic ketoacidosis, a potentially life-threatening condition that complicates diabetes. If you do not quickly bring the level of glucose in the blood to a normal level, coma may develop. 

Doctors emphasize the danger and reality of the complications that anyone who has diabetes can face, especially a teenager who does not fully understand the importance of self-control of diabetes.

The role of parents in controlling the disease

If there is a teenager in the family who has been diagnosed with diabetes (of any type), parents should actively help him in the treatment of pathology, correction of nutrition and changes in the whole way of life. It is necessary to make the tasks of treating diabetes a part of everyday life. It is parents who provide children with the necessary means for treating diabetes, they help to make food choices and the level of physical activity, then diabetes treatment becomes more manageable. In addition, parents can advise a teenager to put their blood glucose meter next to the morning alarm and check glucose levels every morning before getting out of bed. As with the formation of any habit, it can take several weeks before diabetes control becomes a habitual part of a child’s daily life.

Parents and close friends should be aware of the diagnosis and possible complications. Perhaps a teenager will not always want to talk about diabetes, but if necessary, in the case of critical situations, he can receive the right medical care due to the right actions of the environment. Knowledge of diabetes helps to recognize signs of low blood glucose or hypoglycemia, when quick and correct actions are needed.

Doctor’s advice and family help

During the initial examination, the doctor will explain in detail to the child himself and his parents the rules for controlling diabetes. Collaboration will facilitate the implementation of the recommendations of the doctor. This will mean a change in the diet of the whole family, for example, if home-made ones like sugary drinks, a switch to water is necessary so that the teenager will not be tempted.

Regular visits to the doctor are needed to keep the condition under control. Numerous studies suggest that missed clinical visits are accompanied by worsening diabetes control. If the doctor regularly monitors the state of health, this creates a favorable environment, gives the adolescent and parents the opportunity to ask questions or make important changes to treatment.

Modern technology, blood sugar control

A weekly discussion of continuous monitoring of blood sugar and insulin pump indications is necessary. This helps families determine what changes may be needed if blood sugar is often high or too low. It is worth maximizing the use of modern technology for the treatment of diabetes. Teenagers today use continuous glucose monitors and insulin pumps, this allows you to keep blood sugar under control. There are also applications that remind patients when they need to check blood sugar levels, help with carbohydrate counting, and other tasks. Modern gadgets store information in memory, and at the reception the doctor can analyze it.

Many adolescents are actively using fitness bracelets to monitor physical activity, nutrition, set reminders with beeps to measure plasma glucose. Gradually, it becomes a habit and ceases to be a serious problem.

For adolescents, it is important to know about the future prospects of the disease. Although in adolescence, thinking about what will happen in 10-20 years is not always interesting, but a teenager should know in advance how diabetes can behave as it grows up if it is not safely controlled. In many cases, the long-term negative effects of diabetes are not obvious until the person is older, and early prevention of serious consequences is important. Taking care of their health in advance, the young man will be able to avoid some of the terrible consequences in the future, such as loss of vision, kidney damage or amputation of the limbs.

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