Being a Teen
You’ve probably been managing your diabetes for a while now. You may have some help from your parents here and there, but the ball is in your court when you’re at school. And with after-school activities and sports in middle school and high school, that can easily add up to as much as half your weekday! You have some exciting times ahead of you, going to and eventually graduating from high school, learning to drive, and becoming even more independent. Some parts of your diabetes management may need to change as you and your body continue to grow.
Being a teenager is tough enough without having diabetes. Having to think about what you eat, when to test, and when to take your insulin can sometimes feel like a hassle. But it is important that you fit diabetes management into your new routine.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help with any of the issues you may face as a teen (or tween) with diabetes. If you have any questions or concerns about your diabetes, speak with someone on your diabetes care team.
Parents understand, but they still worry
Your parents may worry about you going out with friends and staying out late. But they would probably do that anyway, even if you didn’t have diabetes! They are not trying to make your life difficult; they do it because they care. Try to understand their point of view—let them know where you are and what time you will be back (and let them know if your plans change!).
Remind them that you can manage your diabetes away from home. Be prepared and make sure that you take all the supplies you need to manage your diabetes while you are out.
Your body is changing and so is your diabetes
Yes, we’re talking about puberty. There’s no need to be embarrassed; everyone goes through it. As a young person with type 1 diabetes, you may find that not only will you have the normal changes in growth and body development someone your age experiences but also your diabetes can change as well. You may be working very hard to keep your blood sugar under control, but the hormones in your body can affect your blood sugar, making control difficult.
This can be a confusing time. You’re probably growing. You may be hungrier than usual. And, parts of your body are changing in ways that are not within your control. This is all normal. And healthy. But between the increased appetite and growth hormones, your blood sugar can be higher than usual during this time, and you may need more insulin than you did before. And if you don’t hit your target range every time as a teenager, that’s also normal. Stay on your plan and keep taking your insulin. You have a lot of hormones at work in your body at this time, and you shouldn’t feel bad if it is a little tougher to keep your blood sugar in check.
Your diabetes care team can give you more information about what’s happening in your body. They can also help you find ways to make your diabetes care during puberty less stressful.