If a teenager is diagnosed with diabetes or started in childhood, parents need to know certain things about the disease. In the long term, the child and parents must constantly interact to better control the onset of diabetes. You need to know how to educate a teenager, remind him to conduct insulin injections on time, control blood sugar levels, adjust nutrition, but at the same time give relative independence. It is difficult to achieve a proper balance between parental and children’s responsibility, but this is necessary to prevent possible complications.
Complications of diabetes treatment in adolescence
There may be times when a teenager ignores manifestations of diabetes. Although children know how to control their blood sugar levels, adjust their diet, and adjust insulin doses, nevertheless, they have no long-term prospects. They do not want to be different from other children and therefore are embarrassed to check blood sugar levels, take insulin in their peers or adults, attracting attention. They want to eat and drink the same as their friends.
The riot of hormones in adolescence, a certain psychological pressure from peers and the emerging independence help explain why only 20% of adolescents with type 1 diabetes mellitus have glycated hemoglobin HbA1c levels (it reflects the average blood sugar level over the previous two to three months) does not exceed the standard values. Knowing all the difficulties of diabetes self-control during the teenage years, parents can take several steps to ease the process and reduce the risk of complications.
Parental control is important
It would have been easier for parents to let a teenager control their blood sugar levels themselves or administer insulin on their own. However, the teenager still needs parental care to control diabetes. You need to be aware of glucose indicators, have practical knowledge of how to correct the state when the glucose level is unstable.
It is also important for parents to attend doctor’s appointments with a teenager. Doctors believe that missed visits to the clinic are often accompanied by a decrease in proper health monitoring. Parents and the teenager should jointly discuss with the doctor all the problems, discuss nutrition problems, especially acute during adolescence, when there are so many temptations around. But it is important that teenagers asked questions to the doctor, found alternatives with him, actively participated in the treatment process.
Weekly blood sugar control
It is necessary to establish a specific time during the week for a joint assessment of blood sugar levels. This gives the adolescent some freedom in self-monitoring of blood sugar, but also allows you to objectively evaluate for a certain time period how well he can cope with the control of the disease, whether he injects insulin doses correctly and feeds. This can help the adolescent avoid risks associated with both critically low and dangerously high blood sugar levels, which are caused by nutritional errors, improperly calculated exercise or incorrectly chosen insulin doses, or other factors.
Support and praise for a teenager
Parents should often praise adolescents to ensure that they have the right attitude towards the disease and its control. If adolescents do everything correctly, they need praise and support, but if not, anger or accusation must be avoided, error analysis, a detailed analysis of the situation, blood and urine indicators, changes in diet or physical activity are important. It is important that adolescents know that glucose levels, whether relatively stable or unstable, are only part of health information. Periodically need to conduct a more in-depth examination. You need to maintain a positive attitude and work together – the teenager and parents to maintain health in the long term. Doctors say that even partial control over the level of glucose in the blood is better than none at all, but you need to motivate the adolescent to maximum consciousness.
Changes in family nutrition
If a teenager is the only one in the family who needs a certain diet or not sugary drinks, certain types of food, self-government and control of diabetes becomes much more difficult. If parents and other family members can make at least some changes to their diet, bringing it closer to the child’s diet, it will be a little easier for the adolescent to follow what he can or cannot do.
Using technology to your advantage
Insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitoring, which can help better manage diabetes, are potentially promising for adolescents. For example, a study recently published on JAMA reported that in adolescence in children with type 1 diabetes, therapy with an insulin pump is associated with a lower risk of severe hypoglycemia and diabetic ketoacidosis related to threatening conditions. It highlights the great progress this technology has made in treating diabetes teenagers.
Constant replenishment of the knowledge of the disease is necessary.
It is important to constantly discuss with the adolescent anxiety symptoms, methods of diagnosis and treatment that will help in the fight against the disease. It is important to know that insulin pumps or glucose monitoring monitors are not suitable for everyone. You need to talk with your doctor and find out what new technologies can help a teenager better control the condition. Teens are passionate about gadgets, it is possible to use new applications and software to control diabetes. For example, there are blood glucose meters that load results into applications and can provide recommendations based on common templates. This will help teens, being away from home, better monitor the condition.
Need help in those issues that cause the most problems. For example, parents may remind a teenager of those items that he most often forgets, or can help with potentially complex tasks, such as counting carbohydrates or calculating the dose of insulin. If they become too complicated, you should seek help from a doctor.
Also, parents need to watch for signs of depression and eating disorders. One of the problems that occurs in adolescents is the conscious omission of insulin injections to prevent weight gain. Some sources informally call diabulimia. This can eventually lead to serious health consequences, such as diabetic ketoacidosis. Depression is also more common in adolescents with diabetes, and this can complicate health monitoring.