13 – 17 year olds gradually take on all of their diabetes care, although it is important for them to have your support, encouragement and sometimes, life advice.
Continuing to attend education sessions with the diabetes team will also help.
You and your teenager may become frustrated and irritated on occasions when there is lack of consistency of blood glucose results despite the effort put into insulin adjustments, exercise and diet. Blood glucose levels (BGLs) may be erratic due to varied physical activity and food intake, stress, growth and development, hormonal changes, or difficulty adhering to diabetes routines.
Willingness to carry out diabetes management is sometimes a problem, as the need for a routine interferes with a carefree existence. Doing things on the spur of the moment may be difficult and the need for adult supervision is still there, despite wanting to do their own thing.
The fear and embarrassment of hypos occurring in public may cause your teenager to ‘run’ their BGLs high.
Activity is often varied at this age and blood glucose levels may follow suit!
13 – 17 year olds may be more willing to have multiple injections or use an insulin pump once they realise it may give them more flexibility in their day-to-day life.
Trying things out is a part of this age group’s everyday life – it’s important that your teenager understands the implications of drugs and alcohol and the effect on the management of their diabetes.
It’s important that you ‘keep the door open’ for when your teenager wants advice.
Puberty in both boys and girls is a time when the need for insulin increases. Your teenager’s blood glucose control will vary with growth and hormonal changes.